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Tipsheet

Clarence Thomas to College Graduates: Just Be 'Good Citizens'

Rather than offering trite advice about changing the world, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told Hillsdale College graduates over the weekend to simply be 'good citizens.'

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"At the risk of understating what is necessary to preserve liberty in our form of government, I think more and more that it depends on good citizens, discharging their daily duties in their daily obligations," Thomas said during his commencement address.

He warned students to avoid attempting to “change the world” or making government service a priority.

"I resist what seems to be some formulaic or standard fare at commencement exercises, some broad complaint about societal injustice and at least one exhortation to the young graduates to go out and solve the stated problem or otherwise to change the world," he said. "Having been where you are, I think it is hard enough for you to solve your own problems, not to mention those problems that often seem to defy solution. In addressing your own obligations and responsibilities in the right way, you actually help to ensure our liberty and our form of government."

He also lamented the state of modern society, and said that even in a world that “seems to have gone mad with political correctness,” graduates ought to never hide their faith or beliefs.

Doing so, and being the best person one can be, will set an example for those around us, he later said in closing.

"As you go through life, try to be that person whose actions teach others how to be better people and better citizens.”

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