July 11, 2022 4:42pm
Updated: July 11, 2022 11:14pm
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said attacks against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife after the court overturned Roe v Wade are “despicable.”
“The racist hatred directed at Justice Thomas and his family is despicable,” Cruz said. “Absolutely vile.”
The senator made the comment in response to a photo published on social media of a protestor’s sign reading, “Ginny Thomas is a 21st cent. slave owner,” referring to Thomas’ white wife.
Cruz, a former Supreme Court clerk, warned in May that President Joe Biden's refusal to condemn activists' targeting of justices’ homes was "literally threatening the lives of these justices.”
Since then, some have called for Thomas to be assassinated and threats and disparaging remarks continue to be made about him.
A female protester recently called Thomas a “swine” and “illegitimate pig.”
And a politician, media personality and actor have called him “an Uncle Tom,” conservative commentator and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder noted. He told Fox News LA that using the racial slur is “outrageous. You can disagree with somebody without making a racial slur like that. It’s unfair what he’s been called.”
Much of the vitriol directed at Thomas escalated after he wrote a concurring opinion in the landmark ruling overturning Roe v Wade on June 24. In his opinion, he argues that the due process clause has been misapplied to previous rulings because “‘substantive due process’ is an oxymoron that ‘lacks[s] any basis in the Constitution.’”
He suggested the court “reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell” — cases regarding contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage.
“Any substantiative due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’” Thomas argued.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh also has been a target of activists. Last month a California man was arrested outside of his home and charged with attempting or threatening to kidnap or murder a federal judge. Last week, Kavanaugh was forced to exit out of the back of a Morton’s restaurant due to protesters who had congregated outside upon learning that he was there.
A representative from Morton’s told Politico: “Kavanaugh and all of our other patrons at the restaurant were unduly harassed by unruly protestors while eating dinner … Politics, regardless of your side or views, should not trample the freedom at play of the right to congregate and eat dinner. … Disturbing the dinner of all of our customers was an act of selfishness and void of decency."
While 25 state attorneys general have called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to enforce federal law prohibiting anyone from targeting judges’ homes, activists are still publishing some justices’ home addresses, and at least one group is now advertising paying individuals to allegedly stalk and harass six justices.
On July 8, the group “Shut Down DC” posted an ad stating: DC Service Industry Workers... If you see Kavanaugh, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Coney Barrett or Roberts, DM us with the details! We’ll venmo you $50 for a confirmed sighting and $200 if they're still there 30 mins after your message.”
After a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe was leaked on May 2, Thomas warned that some Americans were “becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don't like,” Reuters reported. “We can't be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want,” he said of the Supreme Court. “The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that.”
The U.S. is “in danger of destroying the institutions that are required for a free society,” he also warned. “You can’t have a civil society, a free society, without a stable legal system.”
And despite the vitriol that’s been directed at Thomas, liberal Justice Sonya Sotomayor speaks highly of him and considers him a friend.
Speaking to an audience at a recent American Constitution Society event, she described his character. He “is the one justice in the building that literally knows every employee’s name,” she said. “And not only does he know their names, he remembers their families’ names and histories. He’s the first one who will go up to someone … and say, ‘Is your son OK?’ ‘How’s your daughter doing in college?’
“He’s the first one that when my stepfather died, he sent me flowers.”
She also described his commitment to the court and rule of law. “He is a man who cares deeply about the court as an institution, about the people who work there, but about people,” she said. “He has a different vision than I do about how to help people and about their responsibility to help themselves … but … we share a common understanding about people and kindness towards them. That's why I can be friends with him and still continue our daily battle over our difference of opinion in cases.”