Clarence Thomas complains Roe leak hurt “trust” in Supreme Court: "It's like infidelity"

Embattled Thomas accuses others of eroding trust in the court by leaking controversial draft abortion ruling

Published May 16, 2022 12:00PM (EDT)

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas believes the controversial draft opinion leak may have forever changed the relationship dynamic between the high court and the American public.

On Friday, May 13, Thomas appeared at the Old Parkland Conference in Dallas, Texas. During the conference, which, according to the Associated Press, has been described as an outlet "to discuss alternative proven approaches to tackling the challenges facing Black Americans today," Thomas expressed concern about Americans' loss of trust in the court.

"When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I'm in, it changes the institution fundamentally," Thomas said of the draft opinion that suggests the Supreme Court is slated to overturn Roe v. Wade. "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."

In fact, one man in the audience even asked Thomas about the relationship dynamics between past justices. Although there have always been liberal and conservative justices on the bench, it's no secret the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Justice Antonin Scalia fostered a life-long friendship despite their political differences. "How can we foster that same type of relationship within Congress and within the general population?" the man asked.

Instead of offering a direct answer to the question, Thomas responded saying, "Well, I'm just worried about keeping it at the court now." He added, "This is not the court of that era.

Thomas also noted another distinct difference between the court of the past and the present day, saying, "it was beyond 'anyone's imagination' before the May 2 leak of the opinion to Politico that even a line of a draft opinion would be released in advance, much less an entire draft that runs nearly 100 pages."

Associated Press noted: "Thomas said that previously, 'if someone said that one line of one opinion' would be leaked, the response would have been: 'Oh, that's impossible. No one would ever do that.'"

However, things are different now. "Now that trust or that belief is gone forever."

At one point, Thomas also said, "I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad...I wonder how long we're going to have these institutions at the rate we're undermining them."

He also condemned protesters pushing back against the war on abortion. He also attempted to argue that conservatives would never behave in such a manner although history suggests otherwise. "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.

Despite Thomas' claims, he is also at the center of controversy due to his wife's behavior and her alleged involvement in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

By Meaghan Ellis

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