But he repeatedly referred to the ‘unfortunate events’ of the past week and, in a question-and-answer session led by a former clerk, said he was concerned about declining respect for institutions and Right wing state.
“This bodes ill for a free society,” he said. It cannot be that institutions “only give you the outcome you want, or can be intimidated” into doing the same, he said.
For Thomas, an avowed critic of Roe v. Wade, the Mississippi abortion case a long-awaited moment
The court’s most senior judge said he was also concerned about a ‘different attitude of young people’ who may not show the same respect for the law as previous generations. “Recent events have shown this major shift,” he said.
The draft notice leaked in February, written by Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. and published by Politico, argued in favor of the cancellation deer and the subsequent case which asserted the constitutional right to obtain an abortion, Family planning c. Casey.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who spoke to the same group on Thursday, said this week the notice was far from a final decision and announced an investigation into the leak, which rocked a court known to keep his deliberations private.
Chief Justice Roberts says Supreme Court leak won’t alter deliberations
Thomas is the tribunal member least likely to adhere to stare decisis, the principle of leaving past decisions in effect. In past cases, including Caseyhe asked deer be overthrown.
On Friday, he did not tie his views to the ongoing controversy over deer but repeated that important decisions he thinks have been made wrong must be corrected.
“We use stare decisis as a mantra when we don’t want to think,” Thomas said.
Thomas grew up in Georgia before heading up north for college and law school, and he said he was thrilled to be the justice who is the point of contact at the Supreme Court for emergencies that arise in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
“One of the things I had to learn in New England was bad manners,” he said.