On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said that the recent leak of a draft Supreme Court majority opinion indicating the nation’s highest court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade did irreparable damage to the court.
The New York Times reported that while speaking at a conference sponsored by several Texas conservative and libertarian groups, Thomas said, “What happened at the court is tremendously bad. I wonder how long were going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them.”
The event was sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and the Hoover Institute. The conference was set to “re-examine the problems of social, racial and economic inequality in America.”
The leaked opinion indicates that the court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, the controversial 1973 court case that established the constitutional right to abortion. Thomas said the drafts leak was “like a kind of infidelity.”
“Look where we are, where that trust or belief is gone forever,” Thomas said. “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.”
Thomas indicated there is a notably less trust within the Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts than there was under the previous Chief Justice, William Rehnquist.
“This is not the court of [the Rehnquist] era. We actually trusted each other. We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family.”
Thomas said that the left has adopted tactics that conservatives simply would not.
He said, “You would never visit Supreme Court Justices' houses when things didn’t go our way. We didn’t throw tempter tantrums. It is incumbent on us to always act appropriately, and not to repay tit for tat.”
The Supreme Court justice indicated that the left employs similarly outlandish tactics during the confirmation process.
“You will not see the utter destruction of a single nominee. You will also not see people going to other people’s houses, attacking them at dinner at a restaurant, throwing things on them.”
Thomas is the longest-serving member of the current court and is a fierce opponent of Roe v. Wade.
During his talk at Friday’s conference, Thomas indicated that he believed opposition to his nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991 was “by those people who were trying to keep me off the court over abortion.”