Posted on June 14, 2024

Clarence Thomas Raised Him ‘As a Son.’ Now He’s Facing 25-Plus Years on Weapons and Drug Charges.

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert, Business Insider, June 11, 2024

The man who was raised by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni, as their own son from ages 6 to 19 is in jail awaiting trial on drugs and weapons charges, Business Insider has learned.

Mark Martin, the grandson of Thomas’ sister, Emma Mae Martin, lived with the Thomas family in Virginia from 1997 to 2010, during which time Clarence and Ginni Thomas were his legal guardians. {snip}

Now 32 years old, Martin told BI in an interview from the Jasper County Detention Center in South Carolina that Clarence and Ginni Thomas washed their hands of him years ago.


In a 2007 C-SPAN interview, Thomas told the host Brian Lamb that Martin, who was 16 at the time, was living with him and his wife and that they were “raising him as a son.”


The Thomases sent Martin to the elite military prep school Randolph-Macon Academy, as well as a residential therapeutic treatment center called Hidden Lake Academy, which frequently used camping trips and wilderness programs as therapeutic tools.


When neither placement prevented Martin from acting out with minor drug use and other petty crimes, the Thomases cut him off, Martin told BI.

Last summer, according to court records reviewed by BI, Martin was arrested on charges of drug trafficking and weapons possession. A warrant reviewed by BI indicates that at the time of his arrest in June 2023, Martin’s vehicle was stopped as part of a juvenile-sex-trafficking investigation. He has not been charged with any crimes related to sex trafficking.

In separate charges from 2021, Martin was accused of trafficking more than 400 grams of meth and heroin. Those charges are still pending, according to records reviewed by BI.

If convicted, Martin faces at least 25 years in prison as part of mandatory-minimum sentencing laws in South Carolina for certain types of drug offenses. He faces at least five additional years for three charges related to the unlawful carrying of a pistol.


While his own father was incarcerated, Martin remembers much of his childhood as the Thomases’ ward as relatively privileged. Together, Martin said they traveled to more than 20 countries; he frequently spent summers wakeboarding or waterskiing {snip}


Clarence Thomas was 7 when his mother sent him to be raised by his grandfather in 1955. Thomas lived with his grandfather Myers Anderson, whom Thomas called Daddy, until Anderson kicked him out of the house when Thomas dropped out of his freshman year at Conception Seminary College in 1968.

Comparing their experiences, Thomas told C-SPAN Martin was “more of a challenge than I was.”

“But I think the thing that I’ll be able to do is, I’ll be able to always look my grandfather in the eye and say that I did for my great-nephew what my grandparents did for us — my brother and me,” Thomas said.

Martin says he was eventually expelled from Randolph-Macon Academy for failing a drug test as a junior in high school. At that point, Martin told BI Clarence and Ginni Thomas shipped him back to Martin’s mother’s house in Georgia, where they’d taken him from a decade prior, and he’d rarely heard from them since.