In The Los Angeles Times, David Savage profiles Clarence Thomas and his 20-year career on the Supreme Court. The emphasis is on the conservative justice's "willingness to stand alone in dissent," and Savage opens with a very interesting anecdote that may help explain Thomas' individualistic approach:
Each summer, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas invites his four new law clerks to his home to watch a movie.
Not just any movie, but the 1949 film version of the classic of libertarian conservatism, Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead."
The movie's hero, played by Gary Cooper, is an idealistic but stubborn architect, who, as Rand wrote, "stood alone against the men of his time." A character, it might be said, a lot like Thomas himself. "If you think you are right, there is nothing wrong with being the only one," he said last year in explaining his fondness for the movie. "I have no problem being the only one."