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George Washington University rejects calls to fire Justice Clarence Thomas from teaching role after he voted to overturn Roe v. Wade

Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • GWU on Tuesday said it would not fire Clarence Thomas from his adjunct teaching role.
  • “We affirm the right of all members of our community to voice their opinions,” the university said.
  • The conservative jurist has attracted a wave of criticism over his vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

George Washington University has rejected calls to fire Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from teaching a constitutional law class at its law school after his vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to Politico.

In an announcement addressed to “the George Washington University Community” on Tuesday, George Washington Law Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Christopher Bracey said that the university would not cancel Thomas’ class or end his employment at the institution.

Thomas, a conservative jurist who has served on the Supreme Court since 1991, is a professorial lecturer in law at the university.

“Because we steadfastly support the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation, and because debate is an essential part of our university’s academic and educational mission to train future leaders who are prepared to address the world’s most urgent problems, the university will neither terminate Justices Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions,” the letter stated.

It 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 discussion that are foundational to our academic mission.”

An online petition created by a student at George Washington called for the university to fire Thomas, stating that his continued employment was “completely unacceptable.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition had nearly 7,500 signatures.

Thomas has attracted a wave of criticism as a part of the conservative bloc that struck down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion in the United States and established a constitutional right to the procedure.

The Supreme Court last week ruled 6-3 to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban, while voting 5-4 to overturn Roe.

Thomas in his concurring opinion wrote that the court should “reconsider” prior rulings on contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage — a departure from his other conservative colleagues — to make the case that cases involving the 14th Amendment’s due process clause needed to be reviewed.

“For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” he said.

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