Jim Obergefell blasts Judge Clarence Thomas over Roe verdict

Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, criticized Judge Clarence Thomas for giving Loving v. Virginia had not included in its list of cases for the country’s highest court to “reconsider.”

Obergefell accused Thomas of wrongdoing in his verdict overthrowing Roe v. However, for having protected Wade by urging his peers to reevaluate other constitutional rights — the Loving v. Virginia in 1967, which declared it unconstitutional to ban interracial marriage.

“It’s a clear indication that if it’s a case that directly affects him, it’s safe,” Obergefell told CNN Newsroom Sunday of Thomas, who has been with his wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas since 1987 lives in an interracial marriage.

“But if it’s a case that protects other people, other people who aren’t like him, then we’re not very sure.”

Thomas joined the 6-3 majority opinion on Friday that saw Roe v. Wade was overthrown, citing the unconstitutionality of the landmark abortion ruling.

Jim Obergefell.
Jim Obergefell was the lead plaintiff in the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Rick Bowmer/AP
Judge Clarence Thomas.
Jim Obergefell accused Justice Clarence Thomas of protecting himself by asking his peers to reevaluate other constitutional rights, but the Loving v. Omit Virginia from 1967.
Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

In his concurring opinion, Thomas pointed out that Friday’s decision should be applied to other cases relating to gay marriage and access to birth control, since they were also decided on the legal theory of “substantive due process” — which refers to fundamental rights not explicitly stated in the Constitution.

“In future cases, we should consider all of this court’s significant due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote.

In the 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court allowed married couples access to birth control. In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the court banned states from banning consensual gay sex, and in 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Noting that Friday’s decision only affected federal access to abortion and not other rights, Thomas urged his colleagues to apply the same “due process clause” logic to the other landmark decisions.

“Since every material due process decision is ‘provenly wrong’, we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ found in these precedents,” he wrote.

Obergefell singled out Thomas for his unanimous opinion, saying he had “put a target on the back” of other constitutional rights – but protected rights that have an impact on the judiciary.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (R) and Virginia Thomas arrive at the White House for the state dinner.
Judge Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia arrive at the White House for a state dinner in 2019.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images

“The right to interracial marriage predates a woman’s right to an abortion by only six years,” CNN Newsroom said Sunday. “Half your country has lost the right to control their own bodies and that should terrify anyone in this nation who believes in our ability.

“Our nation has a much longer history of denial of interracial marriage. Are we going back to the late 18th century, the originalist who says we can only interpret the Constitution as it was written? When this Constitution was written, “We the People” did not include Black, Native American, Women, or Queer people. There is no more perfect union,” he continued.

“We should go forward, not backward,” he added. “And this judgment is taking us backwards, this extreme judgment is taking us backwards.”

Despite Thomas’ call for reconsideration of the other cases, his fellow conservative judges don’t seem so convinced.

Judge Samuel Alito – who drafted the majority opinion – stressed Friday that the ruling should not apply to any issue other than abortion.

“To ensure our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision affects the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” he wrote.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh echoed this sentiment in another unanimous opinion: “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as challenging precedent unrelated to abortion.” Jim Obergefell blasts Judge Clarence Thomas over Roe verdict


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