Liberals suggest that Clarence Thomas is not qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, despite the fact that he is better qualified for the job than was one of the leading liberal justices of this century, William O. Douglas, when President Roosevelt appointed him to the high court in 1939.Douglas was then 41 years old - two years younger than Judge Thomas - and he had no judicial experience whatsoever. Thomas had been a federal judge for more than a year. These differences aside, the backgrounds of the men are remarkably similar. Both grew up fatherless and poor and were transformed by adversity into strong, self-confident individualists - outspoken and frequently controversial. Such people invariably are subject to heavy criticism. But if William O. Douglas was good enough for the Supreme Court, so is Clarence Thomas. Thomas Stewart, Virginia Beach, Va.
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