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Judge Thomas rises: right shift in monumental Supreme Court term shows no signs of slowdown

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JusticeClarence Thomascelebrated his 74th birthday last week with a gift he gave himself. This is the majority opinion in a nationally influential gun rights proceeding.

This was the pinnacle of a monumental one, but a conservative majority of 6-3 won the treasure trove of hot button problems and moved to a dramatic right shift with no signs of slowdown. It was a split term that built the momentum.

As a conservative senior deputy judge and de facto driver, Thomas demonstrated skillful leadership in court this year.

– Defeat the Roe v. Wade case And the constitutional right to national abortion brings the matter back to the state 

Make it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry hidden firearms in public places

– Implement many administrative policies, from federal COVID-related workplace mask obligations to climate change regulations Limit the ability of the Byden administration to do

– Support public prayers at school and high school soccer fields that support parents seeking to send their children to religion using public teaching support.


Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits during a group photo of the justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2021. 

Deputy Judge Clarence Thomas, April 23, 2021, Washington D. C. Sitting in a group photo of judges in the Supreme Court of Japan.  (Erin Schaff-Pool / Getty Images)

"One of the places Clarence Thomas has been to for all these issues over the last 30 years. "I am." Mark Paoletta, a close friend of the new book with Michael Puck, said, "Created Equality: Clarence Thomas in his own words."

Thomas has not apologized in the Supreme Court for a super-majority as Judge John Roberts takes a more cautious and institutional position on carefully selected hot-button issues such as abortion and immigration. It emerged as the quiet voice of the faction.This really blossomed the term with a series of conservative victories.

And when the court hears appeals on affirmative action in college admission, employers' religious freedom, and federal election disputes, there are even more opportunities in the coming years.

Liberal anger

Thomas may be a modest member of the court, but his hard-earned power has attracted the attention of the left. His vote in the abortion decision caused liberal anger, especially in his agreed opinion.

"In the future, all of the precedents of this court's substantive due process, including Griswold, Lawrence, Obergefell,, need to be revisited, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage. And the underlying privacy, due process and equal protection rights.

Other members of the court did not share Thomas's drastic view on that point, but progressive leaders. Sounded a warning bell.

MoveOn activists call for the impeachment of Justice Clarence Thomas outside the U.S. Supreme Court March 30, 2022, in Washington, D.C. 

MoveOn activists U.S. Supreme Court Calling for Judge Clarence Thomas's Condemnation Outside Washington, D.C., March 30, 2022  (Paul Morigi / Getty Images for MoveOn)

[Gay Pride] This weekend's event shouted "F *** Clarence Thomas." I shouted it right away. And I meant that, "saidChicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D),, who is openly gay. "Clarence Thomas wants to make women and LGBTQ + community members second-class citizens. His belief is a direct attack on my personality and blames them on every opportunity I get.

Some Democrats went a step further and twisted Thomas' law in strict and personal terms.

Hillary Clinton,Attend Yale Law School with her husband (with Judge Samuel Alito), and this week he "grudges, dissatisfied, and angry" with Thomas. "Women will die" because of the abortion ruling approved by Thomas. 

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The defenders of justice pushed back.

"The left is a racist," Paoletta told Fox News. "They expect Clarence Thomas to think of a black man based on the color of a person's skin. Clarence Thomas has rejected it for 40 years and wants to destroy him. In conclusion, Clarence Thomas does not. Don't worry about their thoughts at all. "

His home, along with other conservative judges' homes,Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization

was picketed both before and after the pregnancy termination decision. 116} Thomas' Time

Both before and during the modern civil rights movement, the country's second black judge has long done things his way and has problems. Overcame his own unique experience of childhood and discrimination.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference at City Hall Dec. 21, 2021, in Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at the City Hall in December Lecture at a press conference. 21, 2021, Chicago.(Erin Houri / Chicago Tribune via AP)

Winding road to his conservative jurisdictionleft Thomas Is abandoned among many African Americans.  

He said, "Anyone who is very angry when someone says that all blacks are similar should think that all blacks are really comfortable." Told. "I think it's weird."

"Many people hate the fact that he disappoints," said Carrie Severino, chief lawyer and former lawyer for the Judicial Crisis Network. Mr. says. Thomas lawyer. "They expect him to draw a liberal line as an African-American, and he's his own man. You know, he's his own man in the conservatives.

Due to his conservative view, he has quietly gained an influential base of power among his colleagues.

The role of Roberts

The rise of Thomas came at the expense of lifelong conservative Roberts.

scotus blog. According to com, in most of the 95% of cases decided this term, the presiding judge was associated with Judge Brett Kavanaugh.Judge Amy Coney Barrett wasn't too late. 93%.

Roberts upheld conservatives on gun rights, the death penalty, work mask obligations, EPA authority over greenhouse gases, and two prominent religious freedom claims. 

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts prior to President Biden giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol March 1, 2022, in Washington. 

Former Supreme Court Secretary John Roberts Biden The President delivered a State of the Union address at a joint session at the United States Capitol on March 1, 2022 in Washington.  (Julia Nikhinson-Pool / Getty Images)

He is liberal with another workplace Maskman date and a "stay in Mexico" immigration asylum policy. Joined the faction.

However, his hostility from the left and right was the compromise of the presiding judge regarding abortion.

He agreed, in his opinion, that he would have limited support for the national pre-survival right to abortion, butbanned Mississippi after 15 weeks. Allowed

None of his colleagues agreed with the approach, but he adhered to his principles and made his conservative colleague's decision to abandon Roe. I refused to support it.  67-year-old Roberts has a reputation as an intermediary. Throughout his 17-year career in the High Court, the middleman was often decisive in voting on various hot button issues.

President Roberts, appointed President George W. Bush, has been an independent source for years on Obamacare and the current abortion ruling, while most are turning to the right. Has been blinking.

His supporters have a principled stance to avoid further involvement of the court in the dispute when the non-best approach of the country may have been the best at this time of division. I consider it to be. The ruling overturning

Roe, as expected, had a partisan reaction and raised new questions about public confidence in the court as a fair arbitrator of the law.

"The Supreme Court's legitimacy is questioned, and it's illegal, or the judge isn't acting in good faith, or an extremely conservative agenda, such." Told. "I think it's wrong, and in the end, I think it's harmful and destructive to our country.    

Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer holds up a copy of the United States Constitution as he announces his retirement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Jan. 27, 2022.

Supreme Court Deputy Judge Stephen Breyer put up a copy of the United States Constitution on January 27, 2022, when he announced his retirement at the Roosevelt Room in the White House in Washington.(AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, File)

Informally known in court, the "chief" publicly announces his long-term efforts. I have stated. He will form agreements with his colleagues as much as possible, respect precedent and maintain the court's reputation.

In a 2014 speech, he said that "partisan resentment" among members of the House "impedes their ability to perform their duties. I don't want this to spread and affect us." Stated.

But from the point of view of almost all court observers and the general public, it is.

In a Fox News poll in late June, 39% approved the Supreme Court's ability to perform its duties and 48% disapproved.

Other investigations in recent months have shown public confidence in the Supreme Court at historically low prices on whether Americans trust judges to act in the best interests of the country. Was shown.

Frustrated friend

According to sources close to both men, Roberts and Thomas have a deep respect for each other, and the two are on the bench. I continue to be a good friend at home and abroad.

With the retirement of Judge Stephen Breyer, Thomas will be the oldest member of the court. He was visibly impressed last November when the presiding judge praised his colleague's 30 years as a judge with a public court tribute in court.

Thomas's smile was shining, and he lovingly wrapped his arm around Roberts on the bench.

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. April 23, 2021. Seated from left: Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left: Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. 

Supreme Court members pose for a group photo Washington D. C. Supreme Court of April 23, 2021. Seated from left: Deputy Judge Samuel Alito, Deputy Judge Clarence Thomas, Supreme Judge John Roberts, Deputy Judge Stephen Breyer, Supreme Judge Sonia Sotomayor, From Left: Judge Brett Kabanau Associate Justice Elena Cagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Amy Connie Barrett.  (Erin Schaff-Pool / Getty Images)

But a few months later, many said what Thomas made at a court meeting. I regarded it as a subtle slap. The chief leadership recalled the situation before Roberts took over in 2005.

"We really trusted each other," said Thomas. "We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family and loved it."

Politco was leaked in the Dobbs incidentOnly a few days after I got the draft opinion, and two months later, I previewed the final result. The civil war over the incident spilled messily in the masses, and Thomas was visibly frustrated.

A court investigation into an internal leak is underway, but there are no signs that it has identified the perpetrator.

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Many dissatisfied lawyers, Fox News reports that court officials are in the process of asking 37 clerk to turn over their personal mobile phones and submit an affidavit. did. Their one-year apprenticeship expires in mid-July, so Roberts may have an urgent need to complete the investigation before the clerk leaves.

"See where we are, now that trust and belief is forever lost," said Thomas shortly after the leak was announced. "Especially when I lose that trust in the institution I belong to, the institution changes radically. You start looking over your shoulder. It's kind of unfaithful that you can explain, but undo it. You can't. ""

Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas ..  (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Thomas does not exaggerate. The leak shook the court's internal dynamics, which promised to continue indefinitely.

Another changing dynamics will be realized by's latest judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson, taking over the retired Breyer this week. Her colleagues will see how quickly she adapts to the broken court and whether she will be the strong progressive voice promised by Biden and her supporters.

Looking ahead

Thomas may dominate his conservative colleagues, but his power is endless. Due to his consistent (some say strict) conservative principles, he made up the majority of 81% of the cases decided this term. And he was the only opponent in three important cases, connecting Judge Sonia Sotomayor. She was the lowest of the nine, with a majority of only 58%.

But in the biggest case with the highest stakes, there were traces of Thomas throughout this period. Success involves inevitable scrutiny and criticism. A request from a Democrat who resigns from court. Efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, demanding that he refuse in future cases after January 6. Pressure to resign his lifetime appointment. The threat of impeachment.

A complex issue is that of his wife Virginia "Genie" Thomas, who asked the House Select Commission to discuss the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. It's a dispute over advocacy.

Conservative activists allegedly kept in touch with White House executives and Trump's lawyers on claims of election integrity for several days leading up to the January 6 riots. .. The couple said they kept their professional life separate.

Thomas does not suggest resigning in any case, and states that he has no plans to retire soon.

Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Md., Feb. 23, 2017.

Virginia "Genie" Thomas, Supreme Court Judge Judge Clarence Thomas will speak at the Conservative Political Activities Council (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on February 23, 2017.(AP Photo / Susan Walsh, File)

He describes himself as a long-term marathon runner. Where his views were once thought to be far outside the mainstream, Thomas' influence is now at its peak, and he occupies the center of a solid conservative majority.

And Thomas' heritage extends beyond the Supreme Court. The ten former lawyers he led are now federal judges.

But in a recent statement, nostalgic Thomas hinted that his court, and the whole country, would continue to fight.

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"I'm the only court ever Born in the 1940s, everyone else is now after that. " "And we are currently dealing with the post-WWII generation, and when you see it unfolding in society, you think you will see it unfolding institutional. So what's the difference? It's not. A group of people who grew up in different times. I don't know where it will lead you, but we know it's different.