SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas Discusses 1st Amendment Issues

During an interview with the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies director John Malcom, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said:

The First Amendment has “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion” — What is the establishment of religion? It doesn’t say — it doesn’t have — “wall of separation,” it has establishment of religion. So you go back to the language, what does it mean? We are obligated to do that. We are absolutely obligated.


Thomas said, “Whatever is in the constitution. It’s all there. The Bill of Attainders is there. The Third Amendment is there — that we skip over. The Second Amendment, we want to pretend [it] doesn’t exist.”

He said the refusal to go back to the language and seek original meaning births opportunity for jurist’s “theories” to “spin off in a totally different direction from the limitations built into the constitution itself.”


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