“The institution that I belong to, if someone said that a line of opinion leaked from anyone, you would say, ‘Oh, that’s impossible. Nobody would ever do that.’ There’s such a belief in the rule of law, a belief in the court, a belief in what we did that was forbidden,” Thomas said. “It was beyond comprehension or at least imagination that anyone would do such a thing.”
Thomas was interviewed by former law clerk John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, during a dinner session at the three-day conference, which focused on the challenges facing black Americans.
Thomas, who was appointed in 1991 and sat on the bench with Ginsburg, appointed in 1993, for nearly 30 years, said: “We actually trusted each other. We might have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family and we loved it. I mean, you trusted each other, you laughed together, you went to lunch together every day, and I just hope you keep going.”
The leak, he said, has eroded confidence and “you start looking over your shoulder. It’s like a kind of infidelity that you can explain, but you can’t undo it.”
The final opinion in the case – which is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade’s claim to a constitutional right to abortion by Roe v. Representing Wade – has not yet been released, and votes and language are subject to change before then. The report will probably not be available before the end of June.
“I think what happened in court is incredibly bad,” Thomas said. “I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions to the extent that we’re undermining them, and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized, what we’re going to have as a country — and I don’t know, I think not that the prospects are good if we keep losing them.”