Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken often about the difficulties he says he experienced in seeking a job in Atlanta following his graduation from Yale Law School in 1974. Speaking in Atlanta on Thursday, Thomas again said he was never offered a job in that city but acknowledged that fate has a funny way of opening one door when it closes another.

“My grandfather had always said that you have to play the hand that you’re dealt,” the justice told a packed Atlanta Press Club luncheon at the Commerce Club. “Had I not been rejected in Atlanta, I certainly wouldn’t be standing up here today talking to you all. I’d probably be safely in a law firm someplace doing tax work.”