In what appears to be yet another regrettable casualty of the cancel culture battles on college campuses, news emerged this week that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has decided that he will no longer be teaching a seminar in constitutional law this fall at George Washington University, as he has done for nearly 10 years, as the New York Post reports.
A university spokesperson explained to the Post, “Justice Thomas informed GW Law that he is unavailable to co-teach a Constitutional Law Seminar this fall. The students were promptly informed of Justice Thomas’ decision by his co-instructor who will continue to offer the seminar this fall.”
Indeed, Thomas’ co-instructor, Gregory Maggs – with whom he has taught the seminar since 2011 – wrote in an email to registered students, “Justice Thomas has informed me that he is unavailable to co-teach the seminar this fall. I know that this is disappointing. I am very sorry.”
Liberal ire toward Thomas has been even more intense than usual since the high court released its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization earlier this summer, a ruling which overturned the longstanding abortion precedent of Roe v. Wade and prompted students at the school to initiate a petition to remove Thomas from the faculty.
According to the petition’s language, Thomas and his wife – conservative activist Ginni Thomas – are “actively making life unsafe for thousands of students on our campus.” and it contended that the Dobbs decision in which the justice cast his vote with the majority “stripped the right to bodily autonomy of people with wombs.”
Despite the collection of some 11,000 signatures garnered in support of Thomas’ ouster from teaching at the campus, George Washington University administrators stood by the justice and declined to accede to the students’ demands, as National Review noted, but it seems likely that the ongoing progressive backlash to the Dobbs decision played a pivotal role in his decision not to teach this fall.
Among those expressing alarm over the outcome were members of the school’s chapter of College Republicans, with the group declaring in a statement that it is “extremely disappointed and worried by the announcement that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will not be teaching at GW Law in the fall. The university has lost a key figure who provides an invaluable contribution to the wide ideological spectrum that the university strives to promote.”
The statement continued, “We recognize that the current reports indicate that Justice Thomas made this decision based on his availability, but the uproar from the student body regarding his presence as faculty – and the incessant hostility shown towards conservative students and beliefs on campus in general – is great cause for alarm and must be addressed by the university.”
As legal scholar Jonathan Turley recently noted, there was a time not too long ago that “universities were bastions of free speech where a wide array of views and values were steadfastly defended. Any attack on one was an attack on all,” but nowadays, it is unacceptably common for those whose viewpoints stray outside the bounds of leftist orthodoxy to be driven out of the marketplace of ideas by a braying mob of entitled and intolerant children, and it is long past time for that practice to end.