Abortion leak has changed The Supreme Court: says Clarence Thomas
Washington (U S)- The shocking leak of a draft opinion earlier this month, according to Justice Clarence Thomas, has changed the Supreme Court. The opinion suggests that the court is poised to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established the right to abortion nearly 50 years ago.
The conservative Thomas, who joined the court in 1991 and has long called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, described the leak as an unthinkable breach of trust.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder. It’s like infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it,” he said while speaking at a conference Friday evening in Dallas.
The court has said the draft does not represent the final position of any of the court’s members, and Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an investigation into the leak.
Previously, “if someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked,” Thomas said, the response would have been, “Oh, that’s impossible.” Nobody would ever do something like that.”
“That trust or belief is now gone forever,” Thomas said at the Old Parkland Conference, which bills itself as a gathering “to discuss proven alternative approaches to addressing the challenges confronting Black Americans today.”
“I do think what happened at the court is tremendously bad,” Thomas said at one point.
“I wonder how long we’ll have these institutions if we keep undermining them at this rate.”
Thomas also touched n the protests by liberals at conservative justices’ homes in Maryland and Virginia that followed the draft opinion’s release. Thomas argued that conservatives have never acted that way. “You would never visit Supreme Court justices’ houses when things didn’t go our way. We didn’t throw temper tantrums. I think it is incumbent on us always to act appropriately and not repay tit for tat,” he said.
On Saturday, protests are also expected at the Supreme Court and across the country.
Thomas spoke in front of an audience as part of a conversation with John Yoo, a Berkeley Law professor who worked as a law clerk for Thomas for a year in the early 1990s.
Each justice has four law clerks every year, and the current group of law clerks has been a source of speculation as a possible source of the draught opinion’s leak. They are one of a few groups that have access to draught opinions, the justices and some administrative staff.
Thomas also took questions from the audience, including one from a man who inquired about the friendships of the court’s liberal and conservative justices, such as the well-known friendship between the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. “How can we foster that same type of relationship within Congress and the general public?” the man 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 good 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.
“Are you going to leak them?” Thomas inquired, laughing.
“Well, I know where to go,” Yoo replied.
Politico will publish whatever I give them right now.”