Clarence Thomas

Thomas Wants the Supreme Court to Overturn Landmark Rulings That Legalized Contraception, Same-Sex Marriage

In a concurring opinion to the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the conservative jurist called on the court to overrule a trio of watershed civil rights rulings, writing, "We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents”

Jonathan Newton | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The Supreme Court must revisit and overrule past landmark decisions that legalized the right to obtain contraception, the right to same-sex intimacy and the right to same-sex marriage, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote Friday.

Thomas, in a concurring opinion to the court’s precedent-breaking decision overturning Roe v. Wade and wiping out constitutional protections for abortion rights, said that he would do away with the doctrine of “substantive due process” and explicitly called on the court to overrule the watershed civil rights rulings in Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges.

Griswold was a 1965 Supreme Court decision that established the right for married couples to buy and use contraceptives. It became the basis for the right to contraception for all couples a few years later. Lawrence was a 2003 Supreme Court decision that established the right for consenting adults to engage in same-sex intimacy. Obergefell was a 2015 Supreme Court decision to established the right for same-sex couples to be married. 

The legal reasoning in all three monumental decisions — as well in the two decisions, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that had prior to Friday established a legal right to abortion care — relied heavily on the doctrine of substantive due process.

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President Joe Biden discussed the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade in a speech on Friday.
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