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In this overwrought age of overpoliticization, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is reminding us all that some institutions should exist independent of the whims of the mob.
Speaking to a consortium of Notre Dame students, Thomas warned against destroying institutions like the Supreme Court, which exists to adjudicate issues for the entire nation, because it does not “give us what we want.” He implied that the rabid separateness of the two political parties in this country could undo generations of work.
The country has “gotten to the point where we’re really good at finding something that separates us,” Justice Thomas said.
Specifically, Thomas commented on the notion that Supreme Court Justices bring political biases to their work, as if the role of a judge is to work along on agenda.
“I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are antiabortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out,” Thomas, the court’s longest-serving justice, explained.
“They think you become like a politician.”
The problem with institutions resembling politicians, obviously, is the erosion of faith in the institution, itself. The court is supposed to exist completely independent of the legislative and executive branches. Once the court is viewed as a means of influencing public policy, rather than a final say on complex issues, the institution becomes extremely problematic and antithetical to what the founders of the country envisioned.
“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ comments, delivered to a Catholic organization, come on the heels of the nation’s great public debate regarding abortion laws. Thomas is a Catholic, himself, and has ruled in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade in a minority 1992 opinion.