Law Schools

Justice Thomas told GW Law he is 'unavailable' to teach constitutional law seminar after student outcry

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Justice Clarence Thomas

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas won’t be teaching a constitutional law seminar at the George Washington University Law School after thousands of students asked the school to oust him.

Thomas told GW Law that he is “unavailable” to teach the fall seminar, according to a statement by the school and an email message to students in the class. The school released no additional information on whether Thomas would teach classes at later dates.

The GW Hatchett broke the news. Other publications with stories include the Associated Press, Reuters and How Appealing also noted news coverage.

Thomas was part of the Supreme Court majority that overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24. In a separate concurrence, he argued that it was time to reconsider all the court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold v. Connecticut (finding a right to contraception in marriage), Lawrence v. Texas (overturning a sodomy ban) and Obergefell v. Hodges (finding a right to same-sex marriage).

GW Law had refused to fire Thomas last month after an outcry by students, saying debate is essential to the school’s mission.

Fifty student leaders wrote an open letter last month that said they were “profoundly outraged” by Thomas’ positions in the Dobbs case, and the school should rethink its decision not to remove him. An online petition calls Thomas’ employment by the school “completely unacceptable.” It had more than 11,600 signatures as of Friday morning.

Thomas was going to teach the class with Judge Gregory Maggs, a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Maggs said he will teach the seminar alone.

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