CNN's Jeffrey Toobin rips Justice Clarence Thomas in first op-ed since return from sexual misconduct scandal

Media top headlines July 23

In media news today, The Washington Post and The New York Times ignore the Biden admin admitting a crucial error, Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez sues the paper and top editors, and Biden and Don Lemon get roasted for performances during CNN town hall

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin ripped Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his first op-ed since returning to the liberal network following a prolonged leave of absence for sexual misconduct. 

Toobin, who was fired from The New Yorker after being caught masturbating on a zoom call with colleagues last year, wrote Thursday that Thomas was hypothetically the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, considering the new conservative majority and actual Chief Justice John Roberts’ tendency to vote with the liberal wing of the court on recent major decisions. 

In the piece, Toobin was critical of Thomas’ “originalist” view on interpreting the Constitution, his conservative views on various “controversial” topics and attempted to spotlight his differences with the other conservative justices, seemingly to make his views seem more extreme. 

In the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency, Amy Coney Barrett won confirmation to the Supreme Court and Clarence Thomas received an equally consequential promotion – to Chief Justice of the United States,” Toobin wrote. “Not officially, of course. John G. Roberts, Jr., retains the title … But the Chief Justice has just one essential power that differentiates his role from that of the other Justices. The Chief has the right to assign the court’s opinions when he is in the majority. When the Chief Justice is in the minority, though, the assignment power goes to the senior Associate Justice who is in the majority.” 

“In crucial, contested cases, Chief Justice Roberts has increasingly been voting with the three remaining liberals – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan,” he added. “If Roberts continues this pattern, that means Thomas will be the senior Justice in several significant 5 to 4 cases and thus enjoy the right to assign majority opinions, including, of course, to himself.” 

Toobin went on to claim that Thomas had previously been boxed out of important assignments on the court because his views were seen as “extreme and eccentric” even to his fellow conservative justices. He specifically cited what he referred to as Thomas’ belief that many precedents set by the court in previous cases that don’t align with his understanding of the Constitution “should be overturned – immediately and en masse.”

“Even more than his fellow conservatives, Thomas believes in prohibiting virtually all forms of gun regulation under the Second Amendment ; restricting press freedoms; allowing unlimited campaign contributions and spending under the First Amendment; banning all forms of affirmative action based on race and allowing virtually all forms of executions, no matter how painful,” Toobin wrote, before adding that Thomas also favors overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Toobin predicted that the next Supreme Court term, which begins in October, “would showcase Thomas’ leadership in even more consequential areas,” including hearing a challenge to Mississippi’s new abortion law. He added that the law would ban almost all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.


“Thanks to the arrival of Barrett, on abortion and a host of other cases, Thomas may soon have the power to make such a view the law of the land,” he wrote.

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