Clarence Thomas scandals date back to the 1980s: new podcast
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. (Photo by Preston Keres/USDA)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas may be facing new allegations for lavish gifts he's received from wealthy donors, but a recent podcast episode is shedding light on the real timeline of scandals that have plagued him in the past.

WNYC Supreme Court-focused podcast "More Perfect," host Julia Longoria highlighted Thomas' previous discussions about his transition from being "a Malcolm X-admiring revolutionary to arguably the most conservative justice," according to Business Insider.

Thomas' remarks were included in a 1987 profile published by The Atlantic's Juan Williams. At the time, Thomas was employed as an aide for Sen. John Danforth (R-MO). He'd traveled to San Francisco, Calif. to attend a conference for Black conservatives. Although he wasn't a known name at the time, he caught Williams' attention.

Williams noted that Thomas shared his opinion on welfare when he explained his opposition toward public assistance.

"Thomas was the most interesting of a very self-important crowd because he was so brutally candid," Williams wrote. "In discussing welfare policy he explained that his opposition to public assistance was an outgrowth of his sister's experience on welfare in Georgia."

"She gets mad when the mailman is late with her welfare check," Thomas said, according to Williams' recount of the conversation. "That is how dependent she is. What's worse is that now her kids feel entitled to the check too. They have no motivation for doing better or getting out of that situation."

Although Thomas wasn't well-known at the time, his comments sparked criticism. After interacting with Thomas, Williams decided to write about their discussion. In his article, Williams offered a critical assessment of the little-known public official as he slammed Thomas for publicly condemning his own sister.

"He had never been subject to that kind of media spotlight," Williams said of the emerging Republican. "The response from most readers of The Washington Post was, 'Wow, this guy's out of his mind. Why is he bringing up his sister? Why is he putting her in that ugly public position?'"

After the piece was published, Williams noted that Thomas was displeased and didn't speak to him for a prolonged period of time. When they did reconvene, Thomas acted as if he were hurt by Williams' words.