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 Justice Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions.
Additionally, 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.”
— An excerpt from an email sent by George Washington University Provost Christopher Bracey and law dean Dayna Bowen Matthew, in response to an online petition calling for Justice Clarence Thomas to be fired as an adjunct law professor in the wake of his concurrence in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which called for the Supreme Court to “reconsider” rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage. Justice Thomas will not be fired and his class will not be canceled.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.