Clarence Thomas Says Supreme Court Cannot Let Itself Be Bullied

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas addressed last week’s leak of a draft opinion in the abortion rights case that could overturn Roe v. Wade at a judicial conference in Atlanta on Friday, saying the high court cannot allow itself to be “bullied.”

He said citizens are becoming “addicted to wanting particular outcomes” as opposed to learning to live with unfavorable outcomes. He said the court cannot let itself become an institution that “can be bullied” into giving only outcomes someone wants.

He referred to the leak as the “events from earlier this week” and said it is a “symptom” of bullying tactics. Thomas did not discuss the specifics of the leaked draft other than the reference to “unfortunate events.”

Justice Thomas has served on the Supreme Court since 1991, when he replaced Thurgood Marshall, who was the first black member in the court’s history. Thomas was nominated to the post by President George H.W. Bush.

As the longest serving member of the court, Thomas decides which associate justice writes majority opinions in cases in which Chief Justice John Roberts votes with the minority.

The leak was first reported by Politico and was later confirmed as an authentic document in a statement from Chief Justice Roberts.

Abortion activists, Democrats, and leftists have responded with outrage over the last week, calling for protests outside the homes of the six conservative justices of the court and demonstrating at churches around the country over the weekend. A temporary security fence has been erected around the Supreme Court building.

Roberts discussed the leak further on Thursday during a meeting of the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference. He said that a “leak of this stature is absolutely appalling.” He also said that if anyone responsible for the link thinks they will impact the work of the court, they are “foolish.”

If the leaked draft becomes the final decision of the court that is expected in the next two months, the reversal of Roe would mean that abortion regulation would return to states and localities to make independent decisions.

Legal analists have reported that 26 states are likely to immediately or shortly ban abortions if Roe is overturned, with 18 states having legislation already enacted and waiting to take effect.