George Washington University Rejects Students’ Petition To Fire Clarence Thomas

The George Washington University will not dismiss Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from his adjunct teaching position despite a call from GW students that the Supreme Court justice be dismissed because of his concurring opinion in last week’s Supreme Court decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade.

GW students have circulated a petition calling for Thomas to be dismissed. Here is the entire text of that petition, which, as of Wednesday morning, had been signed by over 7,000 people:

With the recent Supreme Court decision that has stripped the right to bodily autonomy of people with wombs, and with his explicit intention to further strip the rights of queer people and remove the ability for people to practice safe sex without fear of pregnancy, it is evident that the employment of Clarence Thomas at George Washington University is completely unacceptable. While also factoring in his wife’s part in the attempted coup in January of 2021, Judge Thomas is actively making life unsafe for thousands of students on our campus (not to mention thousands of campuses across the country). Make your voice heard and help us kick Clarence Thomas out of Foggy Bottom.

Yesterday, George Washington officially responded to the petition with a letter indicating that it would not dismiss Thomas or cancel his Constitutional Law Seminar at the university’s law school.

The letter read in part, 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 Justices Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions.

It added, Justice Thomas’ views do not represent the views of either the George Washington University or its Law School, before noting that the ideas of faculty members and other members of the university community often conflict but that like all faculty members at our university, Justice Thomas has academic freedom and freedom of expression and inquiry.

The letter concluded, Just as we affirm our commitment to academic freedom, we affirm the right of all members of our community to voice their opinions and contribute to the critical discussion that are foundational to our academic mission.

According to the GW Hatchet, Thomas has lectured at GW Law since 2011 and is scheduled to teach his Constitutional Law Seminar again in the Fall 2022 semester.


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