You might think that students at any university would be thrilled to have a Supreme Court Justice — any Supreme Court Justice — on board as an adjunct law professor, and maybe that would be true in a sane world, but while America in 2022 can be called many things, “sane” is not high on the list.
A petition to administrators at George Washington University to fire Justice Clarence Thomas from its law faculty has received over 9,000 signatures, but in a move that is decidedly at odds with campus culture today, the university has adamantly refused to fire Thomas and even defended “the robust exchange of ideas.” Sunspots? Or has university fascism reached its high-water mark and is now beginning to recede?
Thomas is currently an adjunct professor of law at GWU and teaches a seminar on Constitutional law. He will apparently continue to do so for now, for on Tuesday, GWU Provost Christopher Bracey and Georgetown Law School Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew stated that “because we steadfastly support the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation [you do?], and because debate is an essential part of our university’s academic and educational mission [it is?] to train future leaders who are prepared to address the world’s most urgent problems, the university will neither terminate Justice Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions.”
This statement came in response to the claim that Thomas, who is 74 years old, was “making life unsafe for thousands of students.” One might almost get the impression that he was a gang leader or drug dealer, but students would probably be more welcoming of both on the GWU campus. The students’ anti-Thomas petition reads:
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. 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). Make your voice heard and help us kick Clarence Thomas out of Foggy Bottom.
“People with wombs.” If only there were a handy, all-purpose single word for such people! In any case, the claim that Thomas was making students “unsafe” was yet another appearance of the Leftist equation of conservative speech with violence. Those who have differing opinions must be silenced, in the view of these miseducated fascists, because if they aren’t, people will die. They don’t seem ever to notice the fact that the Left is responsible for virtually all the political violence we see in America today.
In dealing with this insanity, however, the Bracey/Matthew memo was carefully argued, as if Bracey and Matthew still believe that one can sit down and reason with the slavering mob. “Many of the requests” to fire Thomas, it said, “cite Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which he called the substantive due process doctrine a ‘legal fiction.’ Justice Thomas has been a consistent critic of the Court’s legal philosophy on substantive due process for many years.”
It noted that “Justice Thomas’ views do not represent the views of either the George Washington University or its Law School,” but intriguingly, this was not done in the context of an affirmation of woke shibboleths, as would usually be the case, but was simply making the point that the university didn’t necessarily share the views of individual professors.
“Additionally,” Bracey and Matthew continued, “like all faculty members at our university, Justice Thomas has academic freedom and freedom of expression and inquiry. Our university’s academic freedom guidelines state: ‘The ideas of different faculty members and of various other members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals within or outside the University from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.’” How quaint. That is going to have to be revised, but doing so will take a bit of time.
Bracey and Matthew added: “Just as we affirm our commitment to academic freedom, we affirm the right of all members of our community to voice their opinions and contribute to the critical discussions that are foundational to our academic mission.” Where did these dinosaurs come from? What time is their reeducation session scheduled for?