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Justice Clarence Thomas delivers inspiring message to new grads–and honors one towering figure

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivered an inspirational commencement address Saturday at Hillsdale College and took advantage of the opportunity to honor the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Describing himself as “unapologetically Catholic, patriotic and a Constitutionalist,” Thomas spoke to the class of 2016 about preserving liberty, practicing good citizenship and standing firm in their principles, the College Fix reported.

“At risk of understating what is necessary to preserve liberty in our form of government, I think more and more it depends on good citizens discharging their daily duties and obligations,” he said. “Sadly, today it seems as though grievances rather than personal conduct are the means of elevation.”

Thomas warned students about the perils of political correctness.

“As you go through life, try to be that person that teaches others how to be better people and better citizens,” he said. “Do not hide your faith and your beliefs under a bushel basket, especially in this world that seems to have gone bad with political correctness.”

The 67-year-old jurist also shot a hole in the progressive left’s embrace of socialism in a reference to the idea of grade-point average redistribution.

“Apparently, we all deserve the same reward, the same status notwithstanding the difference in our efforts or our abilities,” he said. “It is no wonder, then, that we hear of what is deserved or what one is entitled to.”

As for Scalia, who died in February, Thomas said the two of them had “made the Court a better place for each other.”

“This has been a most difficult time on the court,” he said. “When I think of Justice Scalia, I think of the good man I instinctively could trust during my first days on the court — and those were challenging days. He was, in the tradition of the South of my youth, a man of his word, a man of character.”

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The full Hillsdale commencement video can be seen here.

Tom Tillison


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