Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke about the Roe v. Wade draft opinion leak during an interview in Dallas for the American Enterprise Institute with law professor John Yoo. Thomas condemned the leak, comparing it to “an infidelity.”
“The institution that I’m a part of, if someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone, you’d say, ‘Oh, that’s impossible. No one would ever do that.’ There is such a belief in the rule of law, a belief in the court, a belief in what we were doing that that was verboten,” Thomas said. “It was beyond anyone’s understanding, or at least anyone’s imagination, that someone would do that.”
The leak of the Roe v. Wade draft opinion showed Justice Thomas was one of five Supreme Court Judges to back the opinion of Justice Samuel Alito in overturning the 1973 abortion rights case.
If the case is overturned, states will make their own laws regarding the right to an abortion. Several Republican-led states, including Texas, have “trigger laws” that would automatically ban the procedure if Roe is overturned.
Thomas said the leak of the draft opinion was a breach of trust in the high 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,” he said.
The Supreme Court has confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion but has called it preliminary. A final ruling in the case is expected in June. Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an investigation into the leak.
“I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them,” Thomas added.