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On Friday, Justice Thomas was interviewed by John Yoo, his former law clerk, at an event in Dallas. A recording is available here. I've transcribed parts of the video through Otter, and will post some of the highlights here.
First, Yoo asked Thomas if there is "anything going on at the Court these days." Thomas let out a booming laugh. A few moments later, he got to the question:
The whole idea that your point about institutions, I think we are in danger of destroying the institutions that are required for a free society. You can't have a civil society, a free society, without a stable legal system. You can't have one without stability and things like property or interpretation and impartial judiciary. And I've been in this business long enough to know just how fragile it is.
Now when Chief Justice Roberts speaks of the Court as an "institution," he approaches that concept from a PR perspective--5-4 decisions are bad, incoherent 9-0 decisions are good. Thomas could not care what final votes are. Rather, he worries about attacks on the Court by the political branches, and more recently, from within. Next, Thomas turned to the leak.
And the institution that I'm a part of, if someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone in you would say that, 'Oh, that's impossible. No one would ever do that.' There was such a belief in the rule of law, belief in the court, a belief in what we were doing, that that was verboten. It was beyond anyone's understanding, or at least anyone's imagination, that someone would do that. And look where we are, where now that trust or that belief is gone forever. When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I'm in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder. It's like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it but you can't undo it.
Watch the video:
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