The Corner

Justice Thomas and Roe

Thank you for the link to the NR review of the Thomas book. I’d forgotten about that one. Printed it out to share with my liberal lady friend who’d been looking for a balanced glimpse of the man. (She trusts neither demonology nor hagiography, and is the too-rare truly open-minded liberal.)

I must admit that the one thing that bothers me, and has ever since the confirmation hearings, is Thomas’ assertion that he had not discussed Roe vs. Wade and had no views on it. I’m not willing to condemn and forever cast out a public figure over one lie–even a big one, even (sigh) under oath–but it remains deeply troubling to me nonetheless. I revere Justice Thomas for any number of reasons, but will always think a little less of him because of the Roe answer.

I’d be interested to know how others at NRO think about and deal with this.

I’m not sure a robust defense of Justice Thomas is possible here. Andrew Peyton Thomas reports in his book that Justice Thomas was skeptical of Roe before his confirmation hearings.

For more on Thomas, be sure to check out Bench Memos.

Update: Yes, I know that Thomas’s claim during the hearings was that he had not “debated” Roe. He didn’t say he hadn’t “discussed” it. But that seems awfully lawyerly, which is why I said I wasn’t sure a  “robust” defense could be made.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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