The George Washington University announced Tuesday it won’t fire Justice Clarence Thomas or cancel his class despite anger from students who want the conservative justice gone because he wrote an opinion reversing the right to abortion.
“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,” said Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew and Christopher Alan Bracey, vice president of academic affairs.
Justice Thomas teaches a Constitutional Law seminar at the university.
The school’s announcement came after students circulated a petition, which gathered more than 6,000 signatures online, calling for Justice Thomas to get the boot following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
That decision, authored by Justice Samuel A. Alito, overturned the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which gave women a national right to abortion.
Students pointed to Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion where he said other cases related to the doctrine of “substantive due process” should be reevaluated, such as those governing contraception, same-sex relations and marriage.
The students also took issue with his wife Virginia Thomas, a Trump ally, having attended the Jan. 6 rally and advocating for overturning the 2020 election results.
Democrats and liberal activists have been calling for Justice Thomas to either resign or recuse from hearing cases related to the election or the former president, suggesting he has a conflict of interest.
“Judge Thomas is actively making life unsafe for thousands of students on our campus,” the petition read.