Hometown lobbyists rally for Thomas nomination


WASHINGTON -- Judge Clarence Thomas, President Bush's nominee for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, will receive some hometown support Wednesday for Senate confirmation of his nomination.

Some 46 residents of Pinpoint, Ga., a predominantly black and relatively impoverished community where Judge Thomas was born 43 years ago, are scheduled to travel by bus from nearby Savannah to the nation's capital tomorrow to spend Wednesday lobbying on Capitol Hill on his behalf.

The bus trip is being organized by Thomas supporters in Georgia and Washington who say that the lobbying effort will seek to offset opposition to confirmation of the black conservative Republican, who currently sits as a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The opposition has come mainly from black civil rights organizations and from women's groups that support abortion rights.

Organizers said that the journey will be a grass-roots effort by Judge Thomas' friends and former neighbors in Pinpoint. Enough of them volunteered to make the trip to fill a second bus, said one of the organizers of the trip, Clint Bolick, who is president of the Washington-based, conservative-oriented Landmark Center for Civil Rights.

"We just didn't have the time to raise the funds for it," said Mr. Bolick, an attorney and longtime conservative associate of Judge Thomas who played a key role in persuading White House aides that the judge should be Mr. Bush's candidate to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The other organizers of the bus trip are Roy Allen, a Democratic state senator in the Georgia Legislature who was a boyhood classmate of Judge Thomas, and Gary Bauer, head of the Family Research Council, a Washington organization with anti-abortion leanings.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on whether to confirm Judge Thomas is scheduled to begin Sept. 10.

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