U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is scheduled to help teach a two-week course this semester at Creighton University.
His first day of teaching at Creighton this term isn’t clear, but it’s expected to be soon, perhaps in a week or 10 days. Creighton declined to talk about the matter, evidently at Thomas’ request. Two professors mentioned security concerns as the reason for Creighton’s secrecy about the visit.
Thomas has taught a short course several times before at Creighton, although the university has never publicized those visits.
A professor said the law school was “on lockdown” during Thomas’ visits. Most Creighton representatives spoke on condition of anonymity, knowing that Creighton has kept Thomas’ visits out of the public eye.
Thomas will co-teach a two-week Supreme Court class with Creighton law professor Michael Fenner. Fenner is expected to take the first week and Thomas will join him for the second week.
“He’s been here before and it’s always been totally about the students,” Fenner said. “It’s not a public event.”
Two sources said second- and third-year students will participate in a lottery, or already have, to determine who gets to take the one-credit course.
Thomas has been on the Supreme Court for nearly 28 years. He was narrowly confirmed by the U.S. Senate in late 1991 after a former colleague under Thomas, attorney and professor Anita Hill, accused him of sexual harassment.
Thomas has Creighton ties through his wife, Virginia, a former Omahan. She attended Creighton Law School and became friends with some of the school’s professors.
Creighton spokesman Jim Berscheidt said little about the visit, which is mentioned online in a description of Creighton law classes this semester.
“Justice Thomas has visited in the past, but I am not aware if there are plans for him to return,” Berscheidt said. “Beyond that, there is nothing else to add.”
The online course description says the second week of the seminar “revisits historic Supreme Court decisions to better understand the origins and the continued relevance of fundamental principles of constitutional law.”
Efforts Thursday afternoon to reach Thomas or a Thomas spokesman by email were unsuccessful.
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