Clarence Thomas Speaks On This Week's 'Unfortunate Events'

After leaked draft opinion tied to overturning Roe, justice says Supreme Court won't be 'bullied'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2022 7:45 AM CDT
Thomas: Supreme Court Won't Be 'Bullied'
Justice Clarence Thomas sits for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021.   (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

(Newser) – Chief Justice John Roberts has spoken out on the leak of the Supreme Court's draft opinion on its plans to dismantle Roe v. Wade. Now, another justice on the nation's high court is weighing in, if a bit more indirectly. On Thursday, a "relaxed and upbeat" Clarence Thomas spoke before an audience of judges and lawyers at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference in Atlanta, reports CNN, and his speech included thoughts about some of this week's "unfortunate events." The 73-year-old conservative justice told the crowd he worried about what he saw as eroding respect for government institutions, and for the rule of law, and he pointed the finger at a "different attitude of the young" for this shift, per the Washington Post.

In terms of public outcry against this week's leak, Thomas didn't reference the leak explicitly, but he suggested the justices wouldn't be swayed by it. "We can't be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that," he noted, per NBC News. He added: "We are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don't like." These more contentious issues aside, Thomas also had some kind words for his soon-to-retire colleague, Justice Stephen Breyer, who will be replaced by Ketanji Brown Jackson in late June or early July, when the court's current term ends. "It is really hard to see him leave," Thomas said, calling Breyer's departure "brutal," per CNN. (Read more Clarence Thomas stories.)

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