United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas finally spoke publicly on Friday regarding the leaked draft opinion on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health case, which raised the need to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Hill said Justice Clarence Thomas made the comments during an event in Dallas, Texas hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and the Manhattan Institute. Today reported that Thomas highlighted the effect of the draft leak on the future of the Supreme Court.
Justice Clarence Thomas On Broken Trust
Thomas compared people's regard for the Supreme Court before the leak. He stated that people would normally be in disbelief that one opinion would be leaked by anyone. He said people may even say it would be impossible because no one would ever do that.
The associate justice explained that there is a belief in the rule of law and belief in the court, especially a belief in what they were doing "that was verboten." He stressed that it was beyond anyone's imagination and understanding that someone would do such a thing. However, things now have changed.
"And look where we are, where now that trust or that belief is gone forever. And 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," Thomas said.
Calling the leak "tremendously bad," Thomas expressed doubts about having institutions standing at the rate the public is undermining them. He pointed out that once these institutions are gone, he does not see good prospects for the country.
"And then I wonder when they're gone, or they are destabilized, what we will have as a country. And I don't think that the prospects are good if we continue to lose, though," Thomas added.
News4JAX Political Analyst Rick Mullaney, reacting to Thomas' remarks, affirmed that the people's trust in the Supreme Court has clearly been hurt by the draft leak. Mullaney raised concerns about the protests being conducted outside the justices' homes, which he said are far different from rallies conducted across the country.
Consequences Of The Draft Leak
Early this month, Politico published a copy of the draft opinion written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito on behalf of four other justices, comprising a majority of the court, which presented the great possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned as been previously predicted by pro-lifers.
The opinion was circulated internally in February and theories have been circulating on how a copy reached Politico. The draft sparked national controversy, especially amongst pro-choice activists and abortion providers, because it admitted that the 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade was "egregiously wrong from the start."
Despite Chief Justice John Roberts stressing that the draft opinion does not represent the court's final position on the case, activists have staged rallies in front of justices' homes last week and have held nationwide protests over the weekend to uphold their alleged right to abortion.
The draft leak also prompted the Democratic Party to push the passage of the Women's Health Protection Act, called the extreme abortion bill, in the US Senate last Wednesday in the hope of codifying Roe v. Wade. However, the Democrats failed on a 51-49 vote.
Last Thursday, the justices held a meeting for the first time since the draft opinion leaked to the public. The meeting was held privately, excluding all staff that Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett recorded the proceedings. No details were given on the proceedings of the said meeting except that the justices were working on new cases being near the end of their term and that one opinion will be disclosed come Monday.