WASHINGTON (AP) – Justice Clarence Thomas says the Supreme Court was changed by the shocking leak of a draft advisory opinion earlier this month. The opinion suggests that the court, which nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Repeal Wade’s right to abortion.
Conservative Thomas, who joined the court in 1991 and has long called for Roe v. Wade fallsShe described the leak as an unthinkable breach of trust.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I am in, the institution changes fundamentally. You start looking over your shoulder. It’s like a kind of infidelity that you can explain but can’t undo,” he said, speaking at a conference in Dallas on Friday night.
The court has said the draft does not represent the definitive position of any member of the court and Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an investigation into the leak.
Thomas, a candidate for President George HW Bush, said that before the statement was leaked to Politico on May 2, it was beyond “anybody’s imagination.” that even a line of a draft opinion would be published in advance, let alone a full draft, which is almost 100 pages long. Politico also reported that in addition to Thomas, Conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, with the draft opinion writer Samuel Alito, also voted to have Roe v. Wade and a 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Overriding Casey upheld Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to abortion.
Thomas said earlier that “if someone had said that a line of opinion” had leaked, the response would have been, “Oh, that’s impossible. Nobody would ever do that.”
“Now that trust or belief is gone forever,” Thomas said at the Old Parkland Conference, which bills itself as a conference “to discuss alternative best practices for addressing the challenges Black Americans face today.”
Thomas also once said, “I think what happened in court is tremendously bad… I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them.”
Thomas also addressed protests by liberals outside the homes of conservative judges in Maryland and Virginia following the publication of the draft opinion. Thomas argued that conservatives had never acted this way.
“They would never visit the homes of Supreme Court justices unless things were going as we wished. We didn’t throw tantrums. I think it’s incumbent on us to always act appropriately and not retaliate,” he said.
Protests at the Supreme Court and across the country are also expected on Saturday.
Thomas spoke to an audience during a conversation with John Yoowho is now a professor of law at Berkeley but worked for Thomas as a clerk for a year in the early 1990s.
Each judiciary generally has four clerks each year and the current group of clerks has been the subject of speculation as a possible source of the draft opinion leak. Along with the judges and some administrative staff, they are one of the few groups that have access to draft opinions.
Thomas also answered a few questions from the audience, including that of a man asking about the friendships between liberal and conservative judges at the court, such as a well-known friendship between the late Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. “How can we encourage the same kind of relationship within Congress and within the general population?” asked the man.
“Well, I’m just worried about keeping it in court now,” Thomas replied. He went on to speak glowingly of former colleagues. “This is not the court of this time,” he said.
Despite his comments, Thomas appeared to be in good spirits – he laughed heartily at times. Yoo, known for writing the so-called “torture memos” used by the George W. Bush administration to justify the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, once said that he Photographs of notes Thomas had taken during the conference.
“You’re going to leak them?” asked Thomas laughing.
Yoo replied, “Well, I know where to go… Politico will publish whatever I give them now.”