Justice Clarence Thomas
Gun Rights: Justice Thomas didn’t hold back when the Supreme Court declined to review a case challenging a California law that mandates a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of firearms. In his dissent, he indicated that he was displeased with both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s application of rational basis review and the court’s refusal to take up the case, saying, “[t]he right to keep and bear arms is apparently this court’s constitutional orphan.”
#MeToo: The New York magazine report published Feb. 18 not only revisited allegations brought by Anita Hill in Justice Thomas’ 1991 confirmation hearing and that of four other women who would have testified if subpoenaed or otherwise given the opportunity, but also raised the subject of impeachment. The report examines how women's voices were silenced and the evolving understanding of workplace harm resulting from sexual harassment.
The NLJ's Oct. 2016 Story: The New York magazine story piggybacks on allegations first reported by Marcia Coyle in the NLJ from Moira Smith, who was spurred to detail what she alleged was inappropriate contact by Thomas. Her allegations came on the heels of the disclosure of recorded comments by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump about grabbing women. Smith accused Thomas of grabbing and squeezing her buttocks several times throughout a dinner party in 1999 when she was a young Truman Foundation scholar. Thomas, in a statement issued through a Supreme Court spokeswoman, denied the allegations.
In Defense of Thomas: After NLJ’s October 2016 report on Smith, a supporter publicly defend Thomas. Carrie Severino, a former Thomas clerk, said the claim was “silly on its face.” She added: “The fact that so many partisan democratic operatives are involved makes it seem a coordinated hit job.”
Myth-Making: “There’s a real, decided difference between what is said about judging and what actually happens,” Thomas said in response to a question at a Feb. 15 Library of Congress event. The question was about the best and worst parts of his job. “We don’t have the time, energy, ink or bites to change or to engage in that narrative. We have work to do. We have to write opinions.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is having a week. On the heels of his public appearances during the court’s recess, Thomas, who is famously quiet on the bench, derided the “myth-making” of justices and discussed, statements at the Library of Congress on Feb. 15, the “loss of anonymity” that came with the confirmation process. The following weekend, his road to confirmation was once again in the spotlight as New York magazine published a cover feature titled, “The Case for Impeaching Clarence Thomas,” which discussed his confirmation hearing in light of alleged sexual misconduct. The story incorporated reporting from an NLJ October 2016 report. Justice Thomas this week also penned a fiery dissent related to gun rights, a topic that’s been featured more prominently in the news since Florida’s deadly school shooting Feb. 14. This slideshow highlights the ups and downs from the jurist’s week in the news, culled from reporting by The National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle.