Gregory Maggs stated in an email that Justice Thomas had informed him that he would not be available to co-teach the course this autumn. “Justice Thomas has informed me that he is unavailable to do so.” On the website for the law school at George Washington University, where Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has taught since 2011, he is no longer listed as an instructor for any courses. This removal came after the high court made a controversial decision that overturned decades of precedent protecting a nationwide right to abortion access.
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In addition to being one of the five justices who voted to overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973, Thomas also authored a concurring opinion suggesting that the court should also revisit other precedents. These precedents include those entitling Americans to access to contraception, same-sex marriage, and same-sex relationships. Thomas was one of the five justices who voted to overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Because of his participation in the decision, a student at George Washington University started a petition that was eventually signed by 11,300 people and demanded that Thomas be fired from his teaching position at the university. The co-instructor of Thomas’ class stated in an email that the justice had notified him that Thomas would not be available to teach this semester. The email was obtained by The Hatchet, the student newspaper at George Washington University.
“I understand that hearing this will be upsetting. In an email, Gregory Maggs of the law school expressed his regret, writing, “I am extremely sorry.” Timothy Pierce, a representative for George Washington University, acknowledged that Thomas told the law school that he is not available to co-teach the class and that students were informed of the decision in an email from Maggs. Pierce also stated that students were informed of the decision. Pierce did not offer any further clarification or explanation regarding the decision.
According to a report in The Hatchet, Maggs will now be responsible for teaching the class on her own. In response to a request for additional information about Thomas’ removal from the University’s list of teachers, he did not provide a response. A request for comment was also sent to the Supreme Court, but a spokeswoman for the court did not respond.
Despite the uproar that followed the court’s abortion ruling, George Washington University said in June that it will continue to have Thomas serve as an instructor for its constitutional law program. The university issued a statement at the time that read, “Debate is a fundamental aspect of our university’s intellectual and instructional purpose.” This paper contains contributions from Josh Gerstein.