Justice Clarence Thomas was busy in February. As usual, he asked no questions during Supreme Court arguments. But he made up for his silence with three opinions in eight days that took issue with some of the court’s most prominent precedents.
He called on Feb. 19 for the court to reconsider New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 decision that provided the press with broad First Amendment protections against libel suits brought by public officials. The Sullivan case — and rulings extending it — Justice Thomas wrote, “were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law.”
The next day, he criticized Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion, calling it “notoriously incorrect” and the product of misguided efforts to identify and protect fundamental rights under the due process clause of the 14th amendment.