Legal Times has confirmed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has agreed to be interviewed by the CBS News show 60 Minutes later this month to kick off promotion of his new autobiography, set for publication October 1.
Knowledgeable sources say that Thomas overcame an initial reluctance about doing publicity for the book and is scheduled to appear on the top-rated news magazine show on Sunday, Sept. 30.
Thomas' long-awaited book, titled "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir" will be published by HarperCollins. The book has been closely guarded by the publisher, with few copies in circulation, even for book reviewers. It reportedly focuses on his upbringing in Georgia, continuing through his college days and into his early career, culminating with his contentious Senate confirmation hearing in 1991. Some who are familiar with the book say it contains explosive new details about the confirmation battle, while others knock down that characterization. “It’s really about his childhood, not gossip about the court,” said one person who has read the book.
HarperCollins paid Thomas a $1.5 million advance on royalties for the book five years ago. Thomas' agent Lynn Chu said this week that when Thomas signed the contract with the publisher, he insisted that the standard clause obliging him to do publicity for the book be removed. "He could have said no" to the CBS interview, said Chu, co-founder of Writers' Representatives in New York City. "He was very reluctant." But Chu said she was “really glad” that Thomas had finally agreed to do 60 Minutes and make other appearances, including a conversation with ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg at the 92nd Street Y in New York City in October.
It is rare, but not unprecedented, for sitting justices to write memoirs and make high-visibility appearances. Sandra Day O'Connor and her brother Alan Day wrote about their Western upbringing in "Lazy B" in 2002, but it said little about her years on the Court. O'Connor was interviewed on the Today Show and other programs in connection with the book, and went on 60 Minutes II in 2004. CBS correspondent Mike Wallace interviewed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2006, but it was an amiable chat and tour of her chambers that appeared on the CBS Sunday Morning Show, not 60 Minutes.