Unlike the flip-flopping Mitt Romney, Thomas is a true conservative who could appeal to all of the segments of the Republican coalition. Tea Partiers would see Thomas as one of their own. Not only has he been a consistent voice to curtail the power of the federal government but his wife Ginni, a Tea Party activist herself, has been a leader in the fight to repeal Obama’s healthcare reform law. Wall Street Republicans would be buoyed by Thomas’s opposition to environmental regulation and his free market philosophy. Blue-collar workers could embrace Thomas’s up-by-his-bootstraps story of rising from incredible poverty–until he was 7, his home had no indoor plumbing–and his votes to end affirmative action and preserve the Second Amendment. Evangelicals will like that he’s against abortion, gay rights, and limits on prayer in school.
Thomas is also very smart. When he first joined the Supreme Court, some people thought he would just mimic Justice Antonin Scalia, the intellectual leader of the Court’s conservative wing. Over the years, however, Thomas has become a powerful voice for his brand of constitutional conservatism and has proven himself a more devout believer in originalism than even Scalia. Today, it seems as if Scalia is more likely to follow Thomas.
Although known for his silence on the bench—he hasn’t asked a question during oral argument in several years—Thomas is outgoing and charming off the bench.