Clarence Thomas references Roe v. Wade draft opinion leak, says Supreme Court can’t be ‘bullied’


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas dismissed the idea of pressuring the court for desirable outcomes at a judicial conference Friday.

Thomas spoke at the 11th Circuit judicial conference in Atlanta this week, where he discussed the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion for the first time. The opinion would overturn Roe v. Wade if made official, sparking panic among Democrats and protests against the court.

“We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that.,” Thomas said, according to reports.

Thomas did not dwell extensively on the topic, however, and only referenced the ongoing scandal at the Supreme Court in passing.

Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, May 5, 2022 in Washington.

Thomas was hospitalized in Washington, D.C., with “flu-like symptoms” for a week due to an illness that the Supreme Court said was not related to the coronavirus. The 73-year-old missed a week of oral arguments entirely before participating remotely the following week.

Thomas has served on the Supreme Court since 1991 after being nominated by former President George H.W. Bush to succeed Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first black justice.

FILE – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivers a keynote speech during a dedication of Georgia new Nathan Deal Judicial Center in Atlanta, Feb. 11, 2020.

Thomas, as the most senior justice, decides who writes the majority opinion if Chief Justice John Roberts is in the minority on a case.

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Chief Justice John Roberts spoke at the same conference Thursday, where he called the leak “absolutely appalling.” The justice went on to dismiss any question that the leak would affect the Supreme Court’s final decision.

“A leak of this stature is absolutely appalling,” Roberts said. “If the person behind it thinks that it will affect our work, that’s just foolish.”