Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas decried the media's portrayal of the high court, calling it "unfair" when it implies that the justice's personal beliefs influence how they rule. Justice Thomas, who is the longest-serving member of the current court, spoke at the University of Notre Dame last Thursday about how the media pitches in their own opinions when reporting on rulings.
"I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are anti-abortion or something personally, they think that's the way you always will come out," Justice Thomas lamented during his speech, as reported by the Christian Headlines. "They think you're for this or for that. They think you've become like a politician."
Justice Thomas, who is a Catholic, argued, "That's a problem. You're going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions. And I think the media and the interest groups further that."
Justice Thomas took aim at the media, saying that if the company behind the outlet agreed with the outcome of the case, then they would report it as an "excellent" decision. Conversely, the media would report on a "horrible" decision if they disagreed with it. Thus, the Justice said, the media's coverage "sort of encourages these preconceptions about the court - that it's all just personal preferences."
The 73 year old Justice, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and was confirmed in 1991, admitted that there were "some things that conflict very strongly" with his personal opinion and was unafraid to say that there were difficult times early on in his career as a Supreme Court Justice.
He said, however, that he never expressed reluctance or unsureness, because "that's not the role of a judge." Instead, they need to do their job of carrying out justice even if it means that one needs to "go cry alone," admitting that "there have been some [cases] that broke [his] heart."
According to The Guardian, the conservative Amy Coney Barrett recently commented that "judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties" and declared that the Supreme Court was "not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."
Justice Thomas lamented that society has come to a point where "we're really good at finding something that separates us," however, people must understand that "it's not about winning and losing at the court." He added that the Supreme Court used to be the "least dangerous branch [of government," that has now turned into the "most dangerous" one of them all.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, support for the U.S. Supreme Court saw an 11-point decline over summer in the midst of changing partisan attitudes. A new survey from the Marquette University Law School showed that the court was supported by 49% of survey respondents, down from 60% in July.
The Supreme Court, which is controlled by 6 conservatives and 3 liberals, is set to hear cases on abortion and other politically charged issues. The poll revealed that the court saw its support from Democrats and significantly, independents as well. Poll director Charles Franklin explained that while the court often enjoyed "a pretty high approval rating" which has "seemed pretty stable from survey to survey," it is now seeing a significant change over the last two months.