Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called on hundreds of law school students Saturday to set their own paths towards positivity in order to have a more civil society.
Speaking at a dinner for the Federalist Society’s 2018 National Student Symposium, Justice Thomas said people can get each other worked up, but it’s important to work for an ideal and not just against something.
Without mentioning Republicans or Democrats, the jurist suggested students can’t get bogged down during polarizing times.
“I don’t think we can have a society where we are consistently cynical or negative the way that we are,” Justice Thomas said. “At some point, if you’re going to have a country, you got to have something to be for.”
“What do we want the law to stand for?”
Justice Thomas, who is known for being the most quiet justice on the high court, joked with the students at Saturday’s event, recalling times he spent with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and their shared Catholic upbringing.
He said the Supreme Court changed “not to the better” since Scalia passed away in 2016.
“He was a lot of fun to be around. They sort of painted him as this tough guy, but he was my friend,” Justice Thomas.
The Supreme Court operated with only eight justices for more than a year until Scalia’s seat was filled by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.