Justice Thomas has 'no idea' what prompted retirement rumors

At an event for the Supreme Court Historical Society held today at the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas addressed recent rumors that he might be thinking about retirement. From the Washington Post:

“I have no idea where this stuff comes from,” he told David Rubenstein, the financier and philanthropist who interviewed him.

Rubenstein asked Thomas whether it was “enemies putting that out or your friends putting that out because they wanted you to rest more.”

“I think people just wanted to know what I was going to do,” Thomas said with a laugh, “since I couldn’t figure it out myself.”…

“I think one of the things you have to get used to, in this business, in here, is that people can say things about you, and for you, that have nothing to do with you,” Thomas said.

Thomas didn’t specify when he heard about the rumors, only that his wife told him about it. But he may be talking about a New Yorker story back in February by Jeffrey Toobin. The argument at the time was that at age 70, Thomas is nearing retirement age and, with a conservative court already in the bag, there’s no real risk for him to retire now. However, if he waits past next year then there is a chance a Democrat could win the White House and he would need to hold out at least four more years for another chance.

During the same interview today, Thomas talked about his plans for the summer. Apparently, he and his wife Virginia own an RV and like to drive around the country staying in RV parks. I have to imagine the Secret Service also has an RV that follows him around but who knows. Thomas’ best line came when asked about how he relieves stress:

He outlined his summer plans traveling in the “neighborly” atmosphere of RV parks — taking advantage of discounts for senior citizens — and escaping the “rarefied” atmosphere of Washington with his wife and two dogs in tow. He says he enjoys the relative anonymity of traveling through states in his RV that some people instead “fly over,” although every once in a while he’s asked whether he is aware that he resembles Clarence Thomas.

Asked what he does to relieve stress, he joked: “I really don’t have a lot of stress. I cause stress.”

He certainly seems to have a good sense of humor.