U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has called the shocking leak of the draft Roe v. Wade opinion a major violation of trust that has “fundamentally” changed the high court.
Thomas made the remarks at a May 13 conference in Dallas, Texas, in which he decried the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion suggesting that the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, with major implications for access to abortion.
“I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad,” he said, referring to the May 2 leak of the opinion to Politico, adding that some time ago it would have been unthinkable for even “one line of one opinion” to have been disclosed without authorization.
The Supreme Court has confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion, but has called it preliminary. A ruling in the case is expected in June.
Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered a probe into the leak. Thomas said its unauthorized disclosure undercut confidence in the Supreme Court and its internal processes.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally,” he said.
“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.”
“I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them,” Thomas said, echoing earlier remarks in which he expressed concern about a “different attitude of the young” toward respect for institutions and the law, suggesting that this is on the decline relative to past generations.
Thomas was also critical of liberal protests outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices.
“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 to always act appropriately and not to repay tit for tat,” he said.
Besides pickets in front of the homes of several conservative justices, a flurry of protests and counterprotests broke out outside the Supreme Court after Politico obtained and published the draft opinion that would uphold a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
In a bid to prevent violence, police have surrounded the Supreme Court with a set of 9-foot-high metal barricades, with an officer telling an Epoch Times reporter that the move was made “just in case.”
Speaking at a May 6 judicial conference in Atlanta, Thomas said that government institutions must not allow themselves to be strong-armed into delivering outcomes that people demand.
“We are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like,” he said, according to Reuters.
“We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want.”