Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to the dangers that face a politicized Supreme Court during a public speech made at the University of Notre Dame. Justice Thomas was appointed to the high court in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush has rarely spoken publicly about the court’s business and the political pressures the court members must deal with.
Justice Thomas said that the media could lead Americans to believe that the justices are “just always going” by personal preferences. He said that if the media believes justice to be anti-abortion, then “they think that’s the way you always will come out.” He added that the media treats judges everywhere in the federal courts as if they are politicians.
Thomas said that the court was designed to be the “least dangerous” branch of the federal government but may have become the “most dangerous,” which he said is “problematic.”
Warning that the justices should follow the law and rule against their emotions if required, he said that judges should do their job and “go cry alone.”
Trump appointee Justice Amy Coney Barrett made similar public comments last week. She stated her belief that the media misrepresents the members of the court as “partisan hacks.” She said that she sometimes does not like the outcomes of her judicial decisions but that it is not her job to achieve the desired results. She added that belonging to a judicial philosophy is not the same as being in a political party.
Media scrutiny of the Supreme Court has ramped up significantly since it refused to step in and block a new pro-life statute in Texas known as the Heartbeat Act. The new Texas law prohibits most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is medically detected and provides for law enforcement through lawsuits brought by private citizens.
The Texas case draws attention along with an abortion case coming from Mississippi to be decided in the court’s upcoming term. In that case, the State of Mississippi and many other interested parties have expressly asked the court to overturn the landmark abortion decision made in Roe v. Wade in 1973.