Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas expressed regret over the leak of the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, comparing it to “infidelity” and saying it has changed the culture of America’s high court.
“The institution that I’m a part of, if someone said that someone would leak a line from an opinion, you’d say, ‘Oh, that’s impossible. Nobody would do that.’ There is such a belief in the rule of law, a belief in the court, a belief in what we were doing that that was prohibited,” Thomas said. “It was beyond anyone’s understanding, or at least anyone’s imagination, for anyone to do that.”
Thomas’ comments were delivered at an “Old Parkland Conference” event, which is sponsored by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute in Dallas.
The 73-year-old judge’s statements echoed those he had made in early May in Atlanta, when he stated that government institutions should not be “bullied” into offering what some people see as the preferred outcome.
Thomas, who was designated in 1991 and sat on the bench with Ginsburg designated in 1993 for nearly 30 years, had this to say: “We really trusted each other. We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family and we loved it. I mean, they trusted each other, they laughed together, they went to lunch together every day, and I just hope they can keep it up.”
Also, he said that the seepage had eroded the confidence and “you start looking over your shoulder. It’s like a kind of infidelity, that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it “.
The final opinion in this case, which stands as a direct challenge to the Roe v. Wade of a federal constitutional right to abortion, has not been made public, and votes and language may still change before the end of June, when the official opinion is expected to be issued.
“I think what happened on the court is tremendously bad,” said the Supreme Court judge. “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 going to go away or destabilize, what we’re going to have as a country, and I don’t know. I don’t think the prospects are good if we keep losing them.”