Controversial Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas received harsh criticism on Saturday for his take on what is eroding trust in the nation's highest court.
Thomas complained about the leak of a draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
“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,” Thomas said. “It’s kind of like infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it.”
And he complained about women's rights activists protesting the court's plan to end abortion rights.
“You would never visit Supreme Court justice[s’] houses when things didn’t go our way,” Thomas said. “We didn’t throw temper tantrums. ... It is incumbent on us to always act appropriately and not to repay tit for tat.”
Legal experts were shocked by his analysis of what is ailing the court.
Attorney Maya Wiley, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, explained that the broken trust was outside of the building.
"The 'trust' Justices [should] be concerned about is that of the American people. The leak of the Alito draft opinion was not the trust-breaker. It’s the ideological content in the draft that ignores principles of precedent on fundamental rights!" she explained.
"For US Justice Clarence Thomas, the leak of the draft opinion overturning the right to an abortion 'has done irreparable damage to the Supreme Court.' But not the prospect of reversing a right to reproductive freedom that has been recognized for ~50 years?" asked Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth.
"Nobody has destroyed the “trust” in the Supreme Court more than Clarence Thomas, who refused to recuse in a case involving his own wife," wrote Daniel Goldman, who served as majority counsel for the House of Representatives during Donald Trump's first impeachment.
Historian Kevin Kruse noted, "His wife urged Trump’s chief of staff to challenge the election results and then spurred on the January 6th insurrection, but please, tell us more how it’s liberals who are throwing 'temper tantrums.'"
"Clarence Thomas and John Yoo complaining about how other people have been eroding trust in our government institutions. Unbelievable," Kruse said.
Political scientist Norman Ornstein wrote, "Clarence Thomas, corrupt to the core."
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said, "Clarence Thomas really wants us to believe what's undermining the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is a leaked draft opinion and not him sitting on cases about an attempt to overthrow the government that his wife was involved in."
"Clarence Thomas doesn’t have to look over his shoulder," wrote former prosecutor Katie Phang. "He can just look at Ginni and see how compromised the institution has become."
Paul Begala, who served as counselor to the president during the Clinton administration, wrote, "Just so I’m clear: public employees, doing public policy, demand that they be allowed to make decisions that affect the public in private. But a woman has no right to make the most private decision one can imagine in private."
Justice Clarence Thomas: "I do think what happened at the Court is tremendously bad. I wonder how long we're going to have these institutions at the rate we're undermining them."pic.twitter.com/wGWYu97y1P— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1652546040