Clarence Thomas will not teach at George Washington University this fall


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas canceled plans to teach a seminar this fall at George Washington University Law School, weeks after the private university in the nation’s capital defended the position of the conservative jurist within his faculty.

The GW Hatchet, a student newspaper, first reported Thomas’ withdrawal from the fall teaching assignment on Wednesday, citing an email that his longtime co-teacher, Judge Gregory E. Maggs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, sent students enrolled in the class.

“Sadly, I write with sad news: Judge Thomas has informed me that he is unavailable to co-teach the seminar this fall,” Maggs wrote, according to the Hatchet. “I know it’s disappointing. I’m so sorry.”

The university confirmed the report. “Judge Thomas has informed GW Law that he is not available to co-teach a constitutional law seminar this fall,” a university spokesperson said. “The students were quickly informed of Judge Thomas’ decision by his co-instructor who will continue to offer the seminar this fall.

Maggs, through an assistant, referred the questions to the university. Thomas did not immediately respond to messages left at the Supreme Court’s public information office.

Thomas, a district court member for more than 30 years, has taught at DC Law School since 2011. His adjunct professorship sparked controversy this summer after the court’s conservative majority was overruled. Roe vs. Wadethe landmark 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.

Thomas joined the majority in the June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. He also wrote a concurring opinion that the court should reconsider previous decisions based on legal reasoning similar to what the court developed in deerincluding rulings protecting same-sex marriage rights and access to contraception.

Subsequently, thousands of people signed a petition calling for Thomas to be removed from law school.

University leaders have resisted these demands, saying on June 28 that they “strongly support the exchange of ideas and robust deliberation” and that “the university will not terminate the employment of Judge Thomas nor will he cancel his class in response to his legal opinions”. They added that the judge’s views do not represent those of the university of 26,000 students or its law school of 1,700 students.

GWU defends appointment of Thomas amid calls to be removed from law school

Thomas’ critics celebrated the news on Wednesday that Justice was withdrawing its fall teaching plans.

“It’s a massive victory,” said Jon Kay, who helped organize the petition. The 20-year-old GWU junior from South Orange, NJ, who majors in international affairs and philosophy, said he was surprised to learn of Thomas’ withdrawal. Groups of students had planned demonstrations in the fall, he said, assuming Thomas would teach. “We’re going to keep working to make sure he doesn’t come back in the spring semester,” Kay said.

But a GWU law professor, Jonathan Turley, called Wednesday’s development “deeply concerning”. Turley lamented what he called a “cancellation campaign” at the university.

“Judge Thomas has taught this course for many years and our students have benefited greatly from his insights and experiences,” Turley wrote in an email. “He is known as someone who enjoys interacting with students and has often shown great interest in their careers. This is a huge loss for our school. »

Maggs, a former Thomas clerk and retired Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, told the students the class will move forward. “The seminar has not been canceled but I will now be the sole instructor,” Maggs said in the email obtained by Hatchet. “For those of you who are still interested in taking the course, I assure you that we will make the most of the new situation.”

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