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CMU Prof examines Justice Clarence Thomas' signal to overturn other key issues

Justice Clarence Thomas
Posted at 10:06 PM, Jun 24, 2022

With the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) overturning Roe v. Wade, there are worries that Friday's opinion opens the door to reversing other established precedents.

Justice Clarence Thomas is calling the court to reconsider contraceptives, same-sex relationships and marriage bans.

"We have a duty to 'correct the error' established in those precedents," Thomas wrote.

"I could see them taking cases and perhaps reconsidering those decisions," Central Michigan University (CMU) Political Science Assistant Professor Kyla Stepp told FOX 17.

Stepp has been studying constitutional law for two decades. Some of her teaching at CMU revolves around SCOTUS decisions.

"Some of the justices, enough of them, it seems, don't really see that way anymore, that sticking to precedent isn't that important. So that's certainly unique. It makes it more difficult to research and to teach, because usually, the court is pretty consistent," added Stepp.

Justice Samuel Alito offered assurances that other precedents are not at risk; however, Justice Thomas wrote a different opinion following the 5-4 ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"He's always said he doesn't know why precedent really needs to be followed," Stepp said.

Stepp wasn't surprised by Thomas' remarks about revisiting decisions like contraception and same-sex marriage.

She says he has had unpopular opinions compared to his colleagues before, but now, Justice Thomas is on a court with more conservative justices.

"This time, he stood alone in his concurrence. But there are other justices on the court that I could see agreeing with him behind closed doors and perhaps taking him up on this, you know, in future terms."

Those cases could come up as soon as a 2023.

Stepp says the Supreme Court already picked some of the issues they'll decide on next term, but still have room to add more.

"Whether they'll move that fast or whether they will kind of back off for a little less, some of the backlash died down. Let the public kind of forget right now, how angry they are the Supreme Court, you know, they may take a term or two to involve themselves in some of these issues."

READ THE FULL OPINION:
Hobbs vs Mississippi Department of Health SCOTUS Opinion by WXMI on Scribd

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