Legal Law

Justice Thomas Is Shocked And Saddened At Suggestion SCOTUS Is A Bunch Of Ideological Hacks

(Photo by Gerald Martineau/Washington Post/Getty Images)

And Thomas makes three.

That’s three Supreme Court Justices in the past week weeping sad tears because those media meanies call the Court a partisan political actor out to gut the right to abortion in America.

“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 antiabortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician,” Justice Clarence Thomas said in a lecture at the University of Notre Dame last night.

“That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions,” he said, adding later that a judge just calls ’em like he sees ’em, even if it conflicts with his personal beliefs.

“You do your job and you go cry alone,” he said to the 800 people assembled to listen to him air his grievances.

After five justices effectively gutted Roe v. Wade on the shadow docket by allowing Texas to ban abortion at six weeks (which is actually four weeks), the Supreme Court is facing a crisis of legitimacy. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that just 37 percent of Americans approve of the way the Court conducts its business — a steep decline from July of 2020, when that number was 52 percent. Strangely, even laymen weren’t buying the justification that it was just too hard to figure out if Texas’s bounty system allowing private citizens to do what the state cannot passes constitutional muster.

And even in his speech highlighting the supposed independence of the nation’s highest court, Justice Thomas explicitly connected the public perception of the court with support for abortion rights.

“I think that is problematic and hence the craziness during my confirmation was one of the results of that,” he said, adding that “it was absolutely about abortion, a matter I had not thought deeply about at the time.”

Oh, yes, he did.

Professor Anita Hill might beg to differ on that one, not to mention the millions of women sexually harassed at work.

Justices Barrett and Breyer have already trotted out before the cameras to insist that it’s just CRAZY to say that the court is enacting a conservative agenda.

In conversation with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Justice Breyer lamented the Texas decision as “very bad,” but cautioned Americans not to view it as political.

“I am worried if people don’t understand it, they won’t have trust in our institutions,” he warned. “And if they don’t have trust in institutions, it becomes difficult if not impossible to live in a society of 331 million people of tremendous diversity.”

As if the danger was the erosion in public perception of the Court, not the legitimacy and independence of the Court itself.

“My goal today is to convince you that this Court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” Barrett insisted, standing next to Mitch McConnell at an event honoring him for finally stacking the Supreme Court with enough justices to outlaw abortion and make sure that Republicans can gerrymander and suppress votes to entrench their party in power for a generation.

And now it’s Thomas’s turn in the gaslight.

“We have lost the capacity to not allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcomes that we like,” he said, warning against destroying the legitimacy of the court by adding more justices.

“I think we should be careful destroying our institutions because they don’t give us what we want when we want it,” he went on. “I think we should be really, really careful.”

In Justice Thomas’s telling, it’s the media who criticize the court who are manipulating it. Not Sen. McConnell, who held Justice Scalia’s seat open for more than a year on the invented theory that presidents weren’t allowed to fill seats in the final year of their term, only to blow up the filibuster and jam through three justices in four years, the last vote coming just twelve days before an election which the incumbent lost.

And why exactly shouldn’t we, the majority of Americans, destroy institutions that “don’t give us what we want when we want it?” Isn’t that kind of the point of representative democracy?

No one is permitted to question the legitimacy of an institution shaped by senators representing a minority of Americans and a president who lost the popular vote because the very act of noticing that it functions as a Republican hammer is dangerous to democracy?

REALLY?

“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,” Thomas warned. “And I think that’s problematic.”

Well, on that we do agree.

Justice Clarence Thomas says judges are ‘asking for trouble’ when they wade into politics [CNN]Clarence Thomas criticizes judges for veering into politics [AP]Justice Thomas defends the Supreme Court’s independence and warns of ‘destroying our institutions’ [WaPo]


Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.

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