Justice Clarence Thomas, whose conservative activist wife has battled to throw out the results of a legitimate presidential election, ironically warned in a speech Saturday that efforts to politicize the Supreme Court could compromise its credibility.
“You can cavalierly talk about packing or stacking the court,” Thomas told an audience Friday at a Salt Lake City hotel, the Guardian reported. “You can cavalierly talk about doing this or doing that. At some point the institution is going to be compromised.”
“By doing this, you continue to chip away at the respect of the institutions that the next generation is going to need if they’re going to have civil society,” he added, according to the Associated Press.
Thomas is one of six conservative justices on the court. His wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, has come under heavy criticism for her involvement in activities leading up to last year’s Jan. 6 insurrection. She has also been criticized for her participation in the battle to throw out results of the presidential election because Donald Trump lost — a fight foes have labeled unconstitutional and one that could have ended up in her husband’s court.
She has also worked with right-wing groups that have brought cases to the Supreme Court.
Clarence Thomas dodged a question at the talk, sponsored by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, to respond to the controversy involving his wife. He simply called her a “good person” and blamed “tawdry” people in the media for attacking her and fueling division, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Thomas — who railed against the idea of expanding the number of justices on the court, which could dilute conservative justices’ power — did not express concern about right-wing influence in the court. He complained instead about the so-called “cancel culture” Republicans accuse progressives of creating.
He said he was “afraid, particularly in this world of cancel culture attack, I don’t know where you’re going to learn to engage as we did when I grew up.”
“If you don’t learn at that level in high school, in grammar school, in your neighborhood, or in civic organizations, then how do you have it when you’re making decisions in government, in the legislature, or in the courts?” Thomas asked.
As for grammar school, the conservative Florida state Legislature this week passed a highly controversial bill ― known as the “Don’t Say Gay” measure — forbidding instruction about gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.