Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas warned in a speech on Friday in Utah that efforts to politicize the Supreme Court could compromise its credibility.
“You can cavalierly talk about packing or stacking the court,” Thomas told an audience Friday at a Salt Lake City hotel, the Guardian reported. “You can cavalierly talk about doing this or doing that. At some point the institution is going to be compromised.”
He suggested that lack of respect of the institutions would be necessary for future generations to live in a civil society. Growing up during segregation, Thomas said he learned to debate civilly during high school. He thinks that colleges today are not welcoming places for civil, productive debate — particularly if there are students who believe in “traditional” families or oppose abortion.
Thomas’s wife Ginni has come under heavy criticism for her involvement in activities leading up to the January 6 insurrection, for participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, using her Facebook page for partisan attacks, and for efforts to bring cases to the Supreme Court.
In the speech sponsored by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation before approximately 500 people, Justice Thomas dodged a question about his wife Ginni, calling her a “good person” and blaming the “tawdry” media for attacking her and fueling division.
Thomas railed against expanding the court now that conservatives have a 6-3 majority, and complained about “cancel culture.”
“I’m afraid, particularly in this world of cancel culture attack, I don’t know where you’re going to learn to engage as we did when I grew up,” he said. “If you don’t learn at that level in high school, in grammar school, in your neighborhood, or in civic organizations, then how do you have it when you’re making decisions in government, in the legislature, or in the courts?”