Is the Supreme Court Now Thomas’s Court?

Is the Supreme Court Now Thomas's Court?

NEW ROLE For Judge Thomas?

( – Over the last year, the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has flexed its muscles in ways not seen in decades. The originalist judges have taken on controversial issues that include environmental regulations, gun laws, and abortion. In each case, the majority held to the idea that the Constitution is the guide to interpreting the constitutionality of a law, not prior SCOTUS rulings.

In the middle of all the big decisions is Justice Clarence Thomas. Over his distinguished career on the high court, no one has written as many solo opinions as Thomas. For years, legal experts and the liberal media discounted the conservative justice’s legal views, but now that may no longer be the case. Thanks to all of his writings, the justice’s influence may be growing, and while he’s not the Chief Justice, the court may be evolving into his image.

Is SCOTUS Now Thomas’s Court

There are many reasons that some may believe that the SCOTUS is now most influenced by Clarence Thomas. On Thursday, June 30, the court’s longest-tenured justice, Stephen Breyer, retired. That now makes Thomas the most experienced member of the court. That’s not inconsequential. Still, what matters are his legal ideas, not just his tenure.

In the 1970s, Thomas began his legal career. He earned his law degree from Yale Law School and, soon after graduating in 1974, served as an assistant attorney general in Missouri. In the early 1980s, Thomas worked as a legislative assistant for Sen. John Danforth (R-MO), as an assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, and as Chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These roles likely helped shape the future justice’s understanding of the world from multiple angles and informed his judicial philosophy.

Four decades after becoming a member of the Supreme Court, the conservative justice’s prolific solo dissents and other legal writings have been used by other court members to shape SCOTUS decisions.

Thomas’s Views Could Lead the Court

After the high court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, the Left took note of Thomas’s solo opinion saying Roe wasn’t the only violation of the 10th Amendment. Thomas has always loathed the legal doctrine referred to as “substantive due process.” The doctrine says rights not explicitly stated in the Constitution are still protected. Among them are gay marriage and contraception. The controversy over substantive due process exists because five members of the court could decide their policy preferences on the nation without Congress, and is a form of judicial activism.

While Thomas’s view of substantive due process appears to intrigue some on the court, that may not be his only or most important role as the most senior justice in the majority gets to decide who will write the opinion for the majority.

If Chief Justice John Roberts, who is always the most senior ranking member of the court, joins the majority, he decides who writes the opinion. If Roberts is not in the majority, that decision falls to Thomas. He can assign the opinion to himself or to a member of the court that holds a view closest to his own.

Still, there’s also the elephant in the room — race. As a conservative black justice, Liberals look past his skin color to condemn or discredit Thomas’s rulings. Yet, Thomas doesn’t appear to consider his views based on race, but on the Constitution instead. Perhaps that’s the reason he’s such a threat to the Left.

Regardless, the court could start reflecting more of Thomas’s conservative legal views over the coming years.

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