Justice Clarence Thomas lashes out at critics

By Kimberly Atkins

The Daily Record Newswire

Justice Clarence Thomas may have reached a silent milestone on Supreme Court the bench law week, but the justice was quite vocal during a speaking engagement Saturday, lashing out at critics who question his impartiality and warning that the Constitution - and the country - are being threatened.

Politico obtained a recording of Thomas speaking at the Federalist Society's annual symposium, where he also defended his wife, Virginia ''Ginni'' Thomas, for her political activities, adding that he and his wife ''believe in the same things'' and are ''focused on defending liberty.''

Thomas has come under fire in recent months for attending private events hosted by energy magnates and hefty GOP contributors Charles and David Koch. His wife has also been criticized for organizations she founded backing Tea Party causes.

At one point during his remarks at the Charlottesville, Va. event, Thomas recognized his wife in the audience, saying she is an example of how ''there is a price to pay today for standing in defense of your Constitution.''

''[Ginni] started her organization to give 24/7 every day in defense of liberty,'' Thomas said. ''We are equally yoked, and we love being with each other because we love the same things. We believe in the same things. So, with my wife, and with the people around me, what I see, I'm reinforced that we are focused on defending liberty. So, I admire her and I love her for that because it keeps me going.''

Thomas also warned that if the Court does not follow an originalist interpretation of the Constitution - particularly in Commerce Clause cases - dire consequences will ensue. Legal challenges to the health care law enacted last year have been based on that provision of the Constitution.

''I do think that these are fundamental changes that are going on now, and I think they're big changes,'' said Thomas, adding that he was unsure if the changes are ''reversible in any way. ... But they're so big, that I think they're worth trying. And I think the [Constitution] is so important, it's worth defending.''

''It's not a game with me,'' Thomas said. ''It doesn't deal with any ego stuff with me. This is about our country. And one of the things I want to do is I want to go to my grave knowing that I gave everything I had to trying to get it right.''

Video of Thomas' remarks can be viewed on Politico.

Published: Mon, Mar 7, 2011