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Justice Clarence Thomas Takes Swipe At Chief Justice John Roberts

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has let his emotions be known as it concerns Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert’s handling of the court.

It happened last week at a conference in Dallas when Justice Thomas was speaking, CNN reported.

“We actually trusted each other. We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family, and we loved it,” he said of the Supreme Court before 2005 when Chief Justice Roberts joined.

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“This is not the court of that era,” he said of the days when the late Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were friends.

“I sat with Ruth Ginsburg for almost 30 years. And she was actually an easy colleague for me. You knew where she was (on legal questions), and she was a nice person to deal with. Sandra Day O’Connor, you could say the same thing.”

Thomas’ blunt remarks suggest new antagonism toward Roberts and added to the uncertainty regarding the ultimate ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, expected by the end of June.

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Roberts, with his institutionalist approach, is positioned as the one justice who might generate a compromise opinion that stops short of completely overturning Roe v. Wade, at least this year. That would thwart an outcome that Thomas has worked toward for decades.

The pending decision, with a half century of privacy rights in the balance, was already the most anticipated in years. After Politico on May 2 published a first-draft opinion dated February 10 that appeared to show a majority ready to reverse Roe v. Wade, advocates on both sides swung into overdrive.

He was speaking to a conference of black conservatives where he compared the leak to “infidelity,” Politico reported.

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“I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them, and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized what we will have as a country and I don’t think the prospects are good if we continue to lose them,” the 73-year-old Justice said.

“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. 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,” the Justice said.

As he took questions from the audience one person asked him if the court has changed since he was confirmed in 1991.

“Anybody who would, for example, have an attitude to leak documents, that is your general attitude, that is your future on the bench,” he said.

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He also took aim at the protests that have been happening at the homes of conservative Justices since the leak was published.

“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.

Last week Thomas has dropped the hammer on the protesters who are furious at the leaked draft opinion that purports to end Roe V Wade protections for abortion.

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The Associate Justice, who appeared on the majority in ending Roe V Wade, spoke at a judicial conference on Friday and said that the court cannot be “bullied” into doing what certain people want them to do, Reuters reported.

The Justice warned that as a society, “we are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like.”

“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 said.

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