In the wake of the unprecedented leak of an explosive opinion draft that indicates Roe v. Wade may be overturned, Justice Clarence Thomas says the Supreme Court has been “fundamentally” changed by an irreversible loss of trust.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally,” Thomas said Friday during a Dallas speaking engagement. “You begin to look over your shoulder. It’s like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it.”
The conservative Thomas was nominated to the court in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush and has long believed the controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade decision should be overturned. He spoke of the shocking breach while addressing the Old Parkland Conference on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Thomas said that, prior to Politico’s publishing of the draft, the idea that even “one line of one opinion” would ever be leaked would have been met with a response of: “Oh, that’s impossible. No one would ever do that.”
“Now that trust or that belief is gone forever,” the justice stated.
Thomas called the shocking events at the court “tremendously bad” and asked, “I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them.”
He even touched on the illegal protests that liberal pro-abortion activists have staged in front of Supreme Court justices’ homes, claiming that conservatives have never done such a thing.
“You would never visit Supreme Court justices’ houses when things didn’t go our way,” Thomas stated. “We didn’t throw temper tantrums.”
And Justice Thomas does not want to see angry conservatives start throwing them now.
“I think it is… incumbent on us to always act appropriately and not to repay tit for tat,” he said.
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Thomas’s comments were far more personal than those given Thursday by Justice Samuel Alito, who penned the leaked opinion draft back in February.
As BizPac Review reported, Alito took a question regarding the Court’s “challenging times” while addressing the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University from a secure, remote location seven miles away.
“I think it would just be really helpful for all of us to hear, personally, are you all doing okay in these very challenging times,” inquired the questioner.
Alito, in his first comments about the leak since it occurred, was reluctant to answer.
“This is a subject I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about today regarding, you know — given all the circumstances,” he replied cautiously.
“The court right now, we had our conference this morning, we’re doing our work,” he said. “We’re taking new cases, we’re headed toward the end of the term, which is always a frenetic time as we get our opinions out.”
“So that’s where we are,” he concluded.
Absent, it was noted, was the standard assurance that the justices remained “friendly and respectful,” even when they disagree.
And Thomas declined to offer the sentiment as well.
While taking questions from the audience, one man commented on famous friendships between liberal and conservative justices, such as that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, and asked Justice Thomas, “How can we foster that same type of relationship within Congress and within the general population?”
“Well, I’m just worried about keeping it at the court now,” Thomas replied.
After praising his former colleagues, he added, “This is not the court of that era.”
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