WASHINGTON–Justice Clarence Thomas will not teach a constitutional law seminar at George Washington University this fall for the first time in more than a decade amid nationwide backlash over his concurrence in the case overturning Roe vs. Wade.
“Justice Thomas has informed me that he is unavailable to co-teach the seminar this fall,” co-instructor Gregory Maggs wrote in an e-mail to registered law school students obtained by the university’s student newspaper, The Hatchet. “I know that this is disappointing. I am very sorry.”
Mr. Maggs and Justice Thomas have led the seminar, entitled “Leading Cases in Context,” since 2011.
As of July 1, Justice Thomas was still listed as an instructor according to a screengrab of the course list viewed by The Post.
“Justice Thomas informed GW Law that he is unavailable to co-teach a Constitutional Law Seminar this fall,” a university spokesman told The Post Wednesday afternoon.
“The students were promptly informed of Justice Thomas’ decision by his co-instructor, who will continue to offer the seminar this fall.”
Justice Thomas’ apparent decision to step down comes after he was the target of criticism from Democrats and abortion activists after he and four other justices voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade in June, leaving the issue in the hands of state legislatures.
Justice Thomas drew particular ire over his concurring opinion, in which he suggested the court reconsider rulings granting federal protection to same-sex marriage and access to contraception.
Over 11,000 signed a petition asking George Washington University not to allow Justice Thomas to teach there after Roe vs. Wade was overturned.
On June 26, two days after the ruling was released, a petition was launched to remove Justice Thomas from his teaching position.
“With the recent Supreme Court decision that has stripped the right to bodily autonomy of people with wombs, and with his explicit intention to further strip the rights of queer people and remove the ability for people to practice safe sex without fear of pregnancy, it is evident that the employment of Clarence Thomas at George Washington University is completely unacceptable,” read the petition, which garnered more than 11,000 signatures.
“While also factoring in his wife’s part in the attempted coup in January of 2021, Judge Thomas is actively making life unsafe for thousands of students on our campus (not to mention thousands of campuses across the country),” it continued.
The university stood by Justice Thomas in its response to the petition.
“Debate is an essential part of our university’s academic and educational mission,” the school said in a statement obtained by Politico that noted some university faculty members also requested Justice Thomas be fired.
“Just as we affirm our commitment to academic freedom, we affirm the right of all members of our communities to voice their opinions,” the statement added.
Petitioners pushing for Thomas’ removal celebrated his removal from the list of instructors, saying, “We did it.”