Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has always been reviled by the political left, so on May 13, when he weighed in on the recent leak of a draft opinion authored by one of his fellow conservatives on the Court, reactions from progressive Democrats ranged, predictably, from snarky to malign. Speaking at a conference in Dallas, TX, the justice expressed his dismay not only at the idea that an opinion would be leaked but at the prospect of the Supreme Court being changed forever by the breach of trust.
“If someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone and you would say oh, that’s impossible. No one would ever do that,” Thomas told the gathering in Texas. “There’s such a belief in the rule of law, a belief in the court, a belief in what we were doing, that that was verboten. It was beyond anyone’s understanding – or at least anyone’s imagination that someone would do that. And look where we are, where now that trust or that belief is gone forever.”
Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was published by Politico on May 2. The leak set off a firestorm of outrage among pro-abortion progressives – as many believe was the intent of the as-yet-unknown or unidentified leaker. In the opinion, Alito eviscerates the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that gave the federal government the authority to legalize abortion nationwide and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that upheld the former. Quoting Byron White, who was one of two Supreme Court justices to dissent from the Roe v. Wade majority opinion, Alito described that 1973 ruling as an “exercise of raw judicial power” which upended the entire “political process” of states wrestling with the issue of abortion. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote. And so, the overturning of Roe may well be on the cards within a matter of weeks or months.
Of course, once Thomas spoke up about the leak, the issue in question – the supposed constitutional right to abortion – was briefly put aside by some leftists, in favor of attacking the man who embodies one of their worst nightmares – a man who, in their minds, shouldn’t even exist; a black, conservative Supreme Court justice.
Probably the most vicious rant against Justice Thomas came from Elie Mystal, a hard-left legal analyst who regularly yells at people on MSNBC. Mystal described Thomas as “arguably, with his wife, the most corrupt justice in American history.” Here, the progressive pundit was referring to Virginia “Ginni” Thomas’s conservative activism, suggesting, as leftists long have done, that Justice Thomas’s wife has some secret influence over him or, perhaps, over the entire Supreme Court.
No evidence of this “corruption” has been presented by Mystal or anyone else. Liberty Nation’s legal affairs editor, Scott Cosenza, pointed out the fallacy of such allegations. “Virginia Thomas has been a political activist since before she and Clarence Thomas met,” Cosenza notes. “For Thomas to be corrupted by her political actions, he would need to participate in them. There is zero evidence of this in the public record.” Moreover, Cosenza described the left’s double-standard, when it comes to justice’s families engaging in business or other activities that could be interpreted, if one wished, as conflicts of interest:
“We had a justice whose husband’s law firm directly benefitted from paying clients with cases before the Court. Remember all the heat Ruth Bader Ginsburg took because of her husband Marty’s firm cashing in on these – or her daughter being paid for legal work to influence Supreme Court rulings? Probably not. The big-box media never had a problem with these. There are two rules enforced by the left on this; one for allies and another for opponents.”
Progressives going after Clarence Thomas is only part of the story, however. There is a much larger issue in play. The left has for years maligned the Court, denigrated, and even directly threatened Supreme Court justices (looking at you, Chuck Schumer), and hatched various plans to dilute or overrule the Court’s authority. Why? Because, of all the three branches of the federal government, the Supreme Court is the only one that actually defers to the Constitution (even if, arguably, it doesn’t always do so correctly). Also, the Court is the only remaining component of government over which the House of Representatives has almost no power of oversight. One goal long pursued by progressives has been the remolding of the American political system into one in which the House – not the Senate, not the Executive Branch, and not the Supreme Court – wields absolute power. And so, for as much anger as the recent leak caused, it has been, for progressives, a fortuitous turn of events in their war on the institutions of government.
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