According to Justice Clarence Thomas, the unexpected leak of a draught opinion earlier this month has transformed the Supreme Court. The conclusion signals that the court is likely to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision, which established the right to abortion over 50 years ago.
Conservative Thomas condemned the leak as an inconceivable violation of trust, who joined the court in 1991 and long-sought Roe v. Wade to be repealed.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the organization I work for, it profoundly affects the institution.” You start looking over your shoulder. “It’s like an affair that you can explain, but you can’t reverse,” he remarked at a conference in Dallas on Friday evening.
According to the court, the draught does not represent the final stance of any of the court’s members, and Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an investigation into the leak.
Before the May 2 leak of the opinion to Politico, Thomas, a nominee of President George H.W. Bush, claimed it was beyond “anyone’s comprehension” that even a line of a draught opinion, much alone a whole manuscript that spans almost 100 pages, would be disclosed in advance. According to Politico, in addition to Thomas, conservative justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett voted with draught opinion author Samuel Alito to overturn Roe v. Wade and a 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which affirmed Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to abortion.
Thomas said that previously, “if someone said that one line of one opinion” would be leaked, the response would have been: “Oh, that’s impossible. No one would ever do that.”
“Now that trust or that belief is gone forever,” Thomas said at the Old Parkland Conference, which describes itself as a conference “to discuss proven alternative approaches to tackling the challenges facing Black Americans today.”
Thomas also said: “I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad…
I wonder how long we’ll have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them.”
Thomas also mentioned liberal protests at conservative justices’ residences in Maryland and Virginia following the distribution of the draught ruling. Conservatives, according to Thomas, have never acted in this manner.
“You would never visit Supreme Court justices’ houses when things didn’t go our way. We didn’t have any temper outbursts. “I believe it is… incumbent on us always to act responsibly and not pay back tit for tat,” he stated.
Protests were planned for Saturday at the Supreme Court and around the country.
Neither Thomas nor any of the attendees in the Dallas session mentioned the Jan. 6 insurgency or Virginia Thomas’ efforts to have the results of the 2020 presidential election reversed.
Clarence Thomas spoke in front of an audience as part of a talk with John Yoo, a Berkeley Legal professor who served as a law clerk for Thomas for a year in the early 1990s.
Each justice has four legal clerks every year, and the current set of law clerks has been a matter of suspicion as a possible source of the draught opinion’s leak. They are a few organizations that have access to draught opinions, the justices, and some administrative personnel.
Thomas also took questions from the crowd, including one from a guy who inquired about the connections of the court’s liberal and conservative justices, such as the well-known relationship between the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. “How can we cultivate the same sort of friendship within Congress and among the broader public?” the guy inquired.
“Well, I’m just concerned about keeping it on the court right now,” Thomas replied. He went on to praise former colleagues in glowing terms. “This isn’t the court of that time,” he explained.
Thomas appeared to be in excellent spirits despite his remarks, laughing heartily at times. Yoo, who is well-known for penning the so-called “torture memos” that the George W. Bush administration used to justify using “enhanced interrogation” techniques in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, stated that he had photographed notes Thomas had taken during the conference.
“You’re going to leak them?” Thomas inquired, chuckling.
You responded: “Well, I know where to go…
Politico will publish anything I give them now.”