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Clarence Thomas

Extraordinary letter in which Justice Thomas thanks New Mexico gubernatorial candidate John Dendahl

 “for being so supportive” and twice conveys his best wishes as Dendahl looks to unseat his opponent

Clarence Thomas, 1948–. Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1991–.  Typed Letter Signed, Clarence Thomas, with autograph postscript, one page, 8½” x 11”, on engraved stationery of the Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C., September 6, 2005. 

This is an extraordinary letter in which a sitting Supreme Court Justice twice conveys his best wishes to a political nominee looking to unseat an incumbent.  Justice Thomas responds to a letter from John Dendahl, the outspoken former chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party who, at the time of this letter, was the Republican nominee for Governor of New Mexico.  He thanks Dendahl for a copy of his newspaper column that appeared in two New Mexico newspapers and adds a holograph postscript thanking Dendahl for his support.  In full:  “Thank you for your letter of June 20, 2005 and a copy of your column that appeared in The Santa Fe New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal.  Best wishes to you.”  In the postscript, he adds:  “Thank you so much for being so supportive.  I wish you all the best!”

It appears likely that in the newspaper column, Dendahl blasted his opponent, Democrat incumbent Governor Bill Richardson, for vetoing eminent domain reform in New Mexico in light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005).  Dendahl’s view would have supported that of Justice Thomas, who dissented in Kelo

In 2001, President George H. W. Bush appointed Thomas to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Thomas had previously served as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the nation’s most powerful Court of Appeals, to which Bush had appointed him.  Before taking the bench, he served as chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by appointment of President Ronald Reagan.

Justice Thomas has signed this letter with a bold 3¼” signature.  The signature and the postscript are in blue ballpoint pen.  The letter has two horizontal mailing folds, one of which goes through Thomas’s signature, and there is a bit of light offset from the text below and through a portion of the postscript.  Overall the letter is in very fine condition.




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