Justice Thomas to speak Saturday at Hillsdale College

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will speak at Hillsdale College’s 164th commencement ceremony this weekend, officials announced Monday.

The second African-American to serve on the nation’s highest court, and among the most conservative and controversial justices, Thomas will address the Hillsdale College Class of 2016 at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center.

Earlier this year, Thomas posed his first question during oral arguments in the high court in 10 years.

Security is expected to be heightened for Thomas’ appearance at the small private college, 70 miles southwest of Ann Arbor.

Thomas was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to the Supreme Court in 1991, sparking a fierce confirmation battle over allegations that Thomas had sexually harassed attorney Anita Hill while he was her boss at two federal agencies. He succeeded Justice Thurgood Marshall.

In 2008, Thomas, a native of Savannah, Georgia, delivered the spring commencement address at the University of Georgia.

Then, he told graduates to be self-disciplined, honest, positive, have good manners and observe the Golden Rule.

“There are no guarantees in life, but even with all its uncertainties and challenges, it is worth living the right way,” Thomas said. “As you commence the next chapter in your young lives, I urge you to do your best to be your best.”

Hillsdale College is a private college with an enrollment of about 1,400 students. It is among a handful of colleges nationally that does not accept federal funds, relying on its endowment, which was $431 million in 2014, according to U.S. News and World Report.