Clarence Thomas Sends Message to Media: I’ll Leave the Court When ‘I Do My Job as Poorly As Yours’
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas targeted the media during a Q & A on Friday, joking that there is a potential he could leave the court one day — on one condition.
During a conference in Dallas, Thomas blasted the opinion draft leak recently published by Politico, which suggested Roe v. Wade could potentially be overturned this year, leading to numerous protests of conservative judges attached to the opinion. Thomas said the leak fundamentally changed the court and the public’s perception of Supreme Court Justices.
At another point during his chat, the conservative judge said he’d leave the court as soon as he starts doing his job “as poorly” as the media does theirs.
“One of the things I say in response to the media … especially early on, about the way I did my job, I said, ‘I will absolutely leave the court when I do my job as poorly as you do yours — and that was meant as a compliment, really,” Thomas said.
Laughing, the Supreme Court Justice said, “It really is getting to be mean.”
During his talk, Thomas said the recent leak and subsequent outrage have forever affected the “trust” the public has in the Supreme Court.
“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. It’s like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it,” the judge said.
Justice Thomas expressed concerns about the media’s relationship to the Supreme Court long before the opinion draft leaked about the perception and politicization of the court.
At a lecture at the University of Notre Dame last year, Thomas accused the media of jeopardizing “faith” in legal institutions.
“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,” he said. “That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions.”
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