Justice Clarence Thomas: ‘I’m not retiring’ from Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas had some blunt words for anyone planning his retirement party from the Supreme Court: Not gonna happen.
“I’m not retiring,” Justice Thomas declared in an appearance last month at Pepperdine University.
The 70-year-old jurist has the longest tenure of any current justice, having been confirmed to his seat in 1991.
He discussed his future plans in an appearance with Pepperdine University’s incoming president last month, and was asked who he wanted to speak at his retirement party. He rebuffed that question, but did offer an epitaph for after he dies, presumably in office: “He did his job. May he rest in peace.”
Justice Thomas, a practicing Catholic, also touched on faith during the appearance, chiding Senate Democrats who have challenged the religious adherence of some of President Trump’s judicial nominees.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, now confirmed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, faced a grilling about her Catholic faith during her confirmation hearing. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, told the nominee her “dogma” showed through.
Other judicial picks have also been asked about their religion, as well as memberships in church-affiliated organizations like the Knights of Columbus.
“I thought we got away from religious tests,” Justice Thomas said. “I don’t think I know a single judge who has allowed religion to interfere with their jobs.”
Justice Thomas, who goes to Mass every day before he starts work, said judges swear an oath, and swearing before God “actually enhances your view of the oath.”
“I remember having these discussions with Justice Scalia, who was a practicing Catholic, and he felt the way I did — that it would be a violation of his oath to somehow allow his faith to displace the law,” Justice Thomas said.
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