Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s nephew, Mark Elliot Martin of Pin Point, Ga., began serving a 30-year prison term on a drug charge in 1999, says a Washington Post excerpt of a new biography of Thomas by Post reporters Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher. Martin, the son of Thomas’s sister, had been in and out of trouble, and in and out of jail — at least 12 arrests. In 1997, the year he was convicted of pointing a pistol at another person, Thomas assumed custody of his nephew’s six-year-old son, with the nephew’s permission.
Thomas’s intervention in this family crisis reflects a side of him not widely known, say Merida and Fletcher. Martin tells the authors that other inmates ask, ‘Why [Thomas] ain’t got you out of this stuff?’ ” They say he could help change the law and he doesn’t.” Martin decided to try to help himself by studying the law, so he asked his uncle if he would mind sending him some law texts. “He said he would try to get some books to me as soon as he can.”