U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued a scathing opinion this week that once again proved why many conservatives consider him to be among the nation’s sharpest legal minds.
In response to a case covering punishment for children convicted of serious charges, Thomas called out the hypocrisy of those who believe minors should not be held accountable for criminal behavior but are somehow mature enough to determine whether they should get an abortion, The Daily Wire reported.
“The Court-created right”
The justice’s words came on Thursday in connection with Jones v. Mississippi, the case of boy convicted of murdering his grandfather at just age 15.
Citing two previous cases in which the high court concluded that states could not require an automatic life sentence without parole for juvenile killers, Thomas went on to point out the perceived contradiction.
“When addressing juvenile murderers, this Court has stated that ‘children are different’ and that courts must consider ‘a child’s lesser culpability,'” he wrote.
Nevertheless, Thomas noted that “when assessing the Court-created right of an individual of the same age to seek an abortion, Members of this Court take pains to emphasize a ‘young woman’s‘ right to choose.”
That statement was a reference to three other prior cases that served to place limitations on the ability of states to restrict abortion access by minors.
“Depending on the issue”
“It is curious how the Court’s view of the maturity of minors ebbs and flows depending on the issue,” Thomas concluded.
Of course, the conservative justice has addressed the issue of abortion on several other occasions, including his concurring opinion in the 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the federal government’s ban on partial-birth abortion.
At that time, Thomas declared “that the Court’s abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), has no basis in the Constitution.”
Last year, his dissent in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo included the complaint that “the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction.”
As for the most recent case, a 6–3 decision split along ideological lines dismissed the argument that a minor must be found to be incapable of rehabilitation before he or she is sentenced to life behind bars. As Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the majority opinion, the “argument that the sentencer must make a finding of permanent incorrigibility is inconsistent with the Court’s precedents.”