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Clarence Thomas says opinion leak to overthrow Roe is like ‘infidelity’ that eroded trust in Supreme Court

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says the leak of a draft opinion in a case signaling that the court’s conservative majority would strike down constitutional protections for access to abortion was “extremely bad” and an “infidelity” that undermined the institution and revealed its fragility.

Judge Thomas, speaking at a conference hosted by the right-wing think tank American Enterprise Institute in Dallas on May 13, said the leak of opinion written by conservative judge Samuel Alito in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is “beyond anyone’s comprehension, or at least anyone’s imagination”.

“I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them,” he said. “And then I wonder when they’ll be gone or destabilized, what we’re going to have as a country.”

The remarks by Judge Thomas – the court’s longest-serving sitting judge and a staunch conservative – echo his statements about the leak when he spoke at a conference in Atlanta earlier this month, when he said government institutions should not be “bullied” into their decision-making.

“And look where we are, where now that trust or that belief is gone forever,” Judge Thomas said on Friday. “And when you lose that trust, especially in the institution I’m in, it fundamentally changes the institution. You start looking over your shoulder. It’s… a kind of infidelity, that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it.

A final opinion in the case – which could undo decades of abortion rights protections in the United States by overturning the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade and its confirmatory decision in 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey – is expected in the coming weeks.

The end of the Roe protections could “trigger” state-level laws banning the procedure entirely in at least 13 states. More than half of the United States would need to quickly or immediately implement outright abortion restrictions or bans without comprehensive federal protections.

Berkeley Law School’s John Yoo – a former Justice Department attorney who advocated for the use of torture after 9/11 – was interviewing Judge Thomas at the American Enterprise Institute event; Mr Yoo did not ask him about the controversy surrounding Supreme Court rulings related to the 2020 presidential election, nor about text messages from his wife Virginia Thomas to Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, the urging to reject the election results.

Judge Thomas was also the only dissenting vote in the High Court’s January decision to reject Mr Trump’s efforts to withhold documents from a congressional investigation into the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.

Judge Alito’s opinion in the Dobbs The case is joined by Judge Thomas and three other Republican-appointed conservatives on the court, according to Politico, which first reported the draft.

The Independent Gt

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