Many in the mainstream media echoed Democratic Party complaints earlier this month when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that allows a restrictive abortion ban in Texas to remain in effect.
While that ruling has led to plenty of speculation that the nation’s highest court has become a partisan body, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas recently spoke out in defense of the institution.
“Going right to your personal preferences”
“I think the media makes it sound as though [justices] are just going right to your personal preference,” he said, blaming the media for contributing to that narrative.
Thomas made his remarks on the topic during a speech at the University of Notre Dame this week.
Although there is evidence that the Supreme Court has become more politicized, it appears that it comes primarily from outside sources, not the justices on the bench.
In fact, conservative and progressive justices alike have arrived at decisions that have upset those aligned with their respective ideologies, frequently leading to criticism that the justices erred in their interpretation of the Constitution.
For their part, Democrats have relentlessly disparaged the court’s conservative majority for refusing to strike down the Texas law, which effectively bans abortions performed after a heartbeat can be detected in the womb.
“Not the same as political parties”
As Thomas and other supporters of the decision would argue, however, the Supreme Court performed its prescribed duties by determining — by a 5-4 vote — that the case itself was not in the high court’s purview. The ruling noted that the case against the abortion ban must make its way through lower courts before the Supreme Court would be justified in considering the matter.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who also sided with the majority, addressed the misrepresentation she believes is frequently applied to Supreme Court justices.
“Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties,” she declared. “To say the court’s reasoning is flawed is different from saying the court is acting in a partisan manner. I think we need to evaluate what the court is doing on its own terms.”
Nevertheless, Democrats seem to be showing no signs that they will back off from their partisan attacks against the high court.
President Joe Biden went so far as to promise a “whole-of-government effort” to address the recent ruling, but subsequent statements by Thomas and Barrett indicate that justices are prepared to stand up for themselves and the judicial branch.