Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made it clear on Friday that he and his colleagues on the bench would not be “bullied” into changing their minds about any given case.
Thomas, who was speaking at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference in Atlanta, made the comments against the backdrop of the recently leaked early opinion draft that indicated the Court could be preparing to overturn landmark abortion decisions Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Referencing the leak — which immediately sparked outrage from Democratic elected officials and multiple protests from pro-abortion groups — Thomas noted, “We are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like.”
“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 continued.
Since the draft was made public, protesters have gathered outside the Supreme Court and outside the homes of individual justices.
In addition, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — among others — have issued renewed calls to codify Roe and pass legislation that would institute a federal right to abortion. Attempts to do so may be doomed to fail in a 50/50 Senate, however, as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has already stated that he would not compromise the filibuster in order to secure abortion rights.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who has introduced her own bill to codify abortion rights alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), has also said she would not support the Democrats’ bill because it was “too broad” and did not allow exceptions for Catholic hospitals on religious grounds.
Still others, like Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) have argued that the leaked draft only provides it is time for President Joe Biden to expand the court. “We must abolish the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and move urgently to expand the Court so that we forever protect the constitutional right to abortion,” he said, adding, “Republicans made up their mind a long time ago: they would do whatever it takes to destroy Roe v. Wade. We must expand the Court to protect it.”
Critics of the leak — including Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro — spoke out immediately, saying that no matter which side had been responsible, it was a clear attempt to coerce the court to either stand firm in the early decision or to change their opinion in the face of public outcry.
The early opinion draft, which was written by Justice Samuel Alito and published Monday by Politico, may or may not reflect the Supreme Court’s final decision on the matter. And if it the decision ultimately does reverse Roe, states will retain the right to determine whether or not abortion is legal and what restrictions will apply to the procedure.