Student protests after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the conservative members of the high court have caused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to back out of his teaching responsibilities at George Washington University Law School (GW Law).
In the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization opinion, Thomas sided with the majority in addition to writing “a concurring opinion that the court should reconsider past rulings grounded in legal reasoning similar to what the court developed in Roe, including decisions protecting rights to same-sex marriage and access to contraception.”
This sparked a counter movement wherein a petition was circulated, demanding for Thomas to be stripped from his adjunct faculty title, which more than 7,000 people have signed to date.
Throughout the outcry, the university continued to support and defend the conservative justice’s position as an adjunct faculty member who has taught at GW Law for over a decade. University leaders said they “steadfastly support the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation.” However, the institute avowed that the university will neither terminate Justice Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions.
But then, Josh Grossman, a university spokesman emailed out a statement yesterday saying, “Justice Thomas informed GW Law that he is unavailable to co-teach a Constitutional Law Seminar this fall… The students were promptly informed of Justice Thomas’ decision by his co-instructor who will continue to offer the seminar this fall.”
Thomas has not commented nor responded to requests that have been made to the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court.
Justice Thomas was not fired from teaching at the university. The course is still being offered to students and will now be solely led by Thomas’ former Supreme Court clerk, and now Judge Gregory Maggs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Maggs was originally supposed to co-teach with Thomas.
Jon Kay, a junior at GW and one of the petition’s organizers said, “This is a massive victory…We are going to continue to work to make sure he doesn’t come back in the spring semester.”
Not all are jubilant after this latest turn of events—Jonathan Turley a professor at GW Law has expressed that this “cancel campaign” was “deeply concerning… Justice Thomas has taught this course for many years and our students have benefited greatly from his insights and his experiences.”
“He is known as someone who enjoys interaction with students and has often shown a great deal of interest in their careers. This is a tremendous loss for our school,” Turley continued.
Justice Thomas is not the only one facing calls to no longer teach—fellow Justice Samuel Alito has also faced repercussions from Duke Law School alumni and students, who have asked the university to terminate his position.