The Legacy of Justice Clarence Thomas

A Panel Discussion Moderated by the Honorable Michael B. Brennan

Please join the Milwaukee Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society on January 25, 2022 for a panel discussion of Justice Clarence Thomas’ legacy. The event will take place at 12:00 p.m. at the Milwaukee Club and will be moderated by the Honorable Michael B. Brennan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. 

Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court’s most senior associate justice, recently celebrated his 30-year anniversary on the Court.  The occasion is an appropriate time to examine the legacy of a man who not only rose from poverty to a seat on the nation’s high court but who quickly became one of its foremost intellectuals.  In the words of UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, Justice Thomas “has articulated the sharpest and clearest originalist vision of anybody on the court.”

Discussing Justice Thomas’ impact on the Court, the country, and the law, is a panel of distinguished lawyers, each of whom had the privilege of clerking for Justice Thomas:

  • Judge Kenton Skarin is an associate judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit in Illinois.  He graduated summa cum laude from North Central College with a degree in History and then graduated first in his class from Northwestern University School of Law, where he served as associate editor of the law review.  Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable J. Harvie Wilkinson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. After working in the appellate and banking and finance groups at Mayer Brown, LLP for a time, he clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Following the clerkship he continued working in private practice at Jones Day and also served as Deputy General Counsel under Governor Bruce Rauner.
  • Madeline Lansky is Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School.  She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Since graduation, she has served as a law clerk to Judge William H. Pryor Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Eric Nelson is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, where he focuses his practice on contractual and distribution issues, including those involving manufacturers, service providers, utilities and energy marketers.  Mr. Nelson received his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1989 from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (where he received the School of Business Distinguished Student Award), and his J.D. degree in 1992 from Yale Law School.  A member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, he served judicial clerkships with both the Hon. Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1993-1994), and the Hon. J. Michael Luttig, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1992-1993), before joining the firm.
  • Moderating this panel is Judge Michael B. Brennan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  He previously worked as a partner in the Milwaukee law firm of Gass Weber Mullins LLC, where he tried cases and handled appeals in federal and state courts, as a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit, where he presided over a variety of criminal and civil calendars, and as an assistant district attorney in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. Judge Brennan’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Notre Dame, and his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law, where he was an editor on the law review and the moot court champion.   He served as a law clerk on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Please join us to hear about Justice Thomas’ many lasting achievements.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.