- Justice Clarence Thomas said he would never have thought a draft opinion would be leaked.
- Thomas said the leak of the draft opinion, which could overturn Roe v. Wade, did irreparable damage.
- " It's like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it, but you can't undo it," he said.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday said the leak of a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade did irreparable damage to the high court.
"What happened at the court is tremendously bad," Thomas said at a conference sponsored by several conservative and libertarian groups in Dallas on Friday night. "I wonder how long we're going to have these institutions at the rate we're undermining them."
Thomas said the leak destroyed trust amongst members of the court, The New York Times reported.
According to The Associated Press, Thomas said the leak was an "unthinkable breach of trust."
"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," he said.
Last week, Politico published an entire nearly 100-page draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. The opinion, while not final, indicated that the court's conservative majority may overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion. If the decision is overturned, experts note that a dozen states already have "trigger laws" that would immediately go into effect.
Thomas has long said that he does not believe abortion is a constitutional right, and that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
"Nothing in our Federal Constitution deprives the people of this country of the right to determine whether the consequences of abortion to the fetus and to society outweigh the burden of an unwanted pregnancy on the mother," he wrote in a 2000 dissent, The Times reported. "Although a state may permit abortion, nothing in the Constitution dictates that a state must do so."
The conservative judge said he wouldn't have previously believed it if someone suggested that even "one line of one opinion" would be leaked, The AP reported.
"Now that trust or that belief is gone forever," Thomas said.
"This is not the court of that era," he said, according to The Times: "We actually trusted each other. We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family."