Clarence Thomas criticizes judges for their political turn | New policies


By SARA BURNETT, Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Thursday criticized some members of the judiciary for turning to the role of lawmakers and politicians, saying it is not for judges to make policy or found their decisions about their personal feelings. or religious beliefs.

Speaking at the University of Notre Dame, Thomas said that judges “venturing into areas we shouldn’t have gone into” is part of why the nomination process, especially for federal judges appointed lifelong like him, is so controversial.

“The tribunal was considered the least dangerous branch and we have perhaps become the most dangerous,” Thomas said. “And I think it’s problematic.”

He did not cite any specific example.

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Thomas is the longest-serving judge in a court that turned more conservative under President Donald Trump, who placed three judges on the court. His speech on Thursday takes place at the alma mater of his new colleague in the field, Amy Coney Barrett, a graduate of Notre Dame Law School and a faculty member.

The speech at the Catholic university on Thursday by Thomas, a Catholic, came two weeks after he was part of the majority in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote to dismiss an emergency appeal for a new Texas law prohibiting most abortions. The court hinted that this was not their last word on the matter. The law is the biggest restriction on abortion rights since the landmark 1973 court decision Roe v. Wade that women have a constitutional right to have an abortion, and proponents of the right to abortion say this is proof that Roe v. Wade could be threatened.

Thomas asked the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade who expanded abortion rights across the country, and he was one of four judges who allegedly overturned Roe in a 1992 ruling, during his first term in court.

The Catholic Church opposes abortion. When asked on Thursday if there had been any times he had to resolve legal issues that conflicted with his Catholic faith, Thomas said he had no problem with that. He said some cases were very difficult, especially early in his career, but added “it is not the role of a judge”.

“You do your job and you are going to cry on your own,” he said.

Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by former employee Anita Hill during his own bruising confirmation hearing in 1991 – charges he denied.

On Thursday, he said that “the insanity” upon his confirmation was the result of the politicization of the judiciary, saying “it was absolutely abortion, a question I had not thought about before. era”.

At one point in the conference, three protesters stood up and shouted “I still believe in Anita Hill”. They were escorted out of the auditorium without incident; the crowd then rose and applauded.

Thursday’s lecture was a rare public speech by Thomas, who generally avoids public speaking. He is known to go years without asking questions during arguments before the Supreme Court, unlike his colleagues, although during the pandemic Thomas asked each of the telephone arguments questions.

Thomas acknowledged his reluctance, telling the crowd that years ago the late Judge Antonin Scalia, a fellow Conservative, “told me I should get out on the road and fly the flag.”

“He was more outgoing than me,” Thomas said. “I’m pretty happy not to hit the road.

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