Justice Clarence Thomas Reportedly Looking To Retire After 2016 Election

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is reportedly considering retiring according to the Washington Examiner after the November 2016 election, making the election even more crucial for each party. Thomas, te second African-American to sit on the Supreme Court, was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and has been a dependable conservative vote. Thomas’ departure so soon after the death of fellow conservative Chief Justice Antonin Scalia, raises the stakes in November.

The Republican party is refusing to meet with or hold hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia. If there ends up being two vacancies on the Supreme Court, the next nominee is going to wield a lot of power ensuring that the 4-4 split between liberal and conservative judges is effectively over.

Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation was embroiled in scandal from the beginning, with the NAACP and the National Organization for Women opposing his nomination due to his ultra conservative views on Affirmative Action and abortion. The legal community was also opposed to Thomas being a Supreme Court Justice due to his lack of experience, with only having served two years as a federal judge.

United States Supreme Court United States Supreme Court [Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]The largest controversy, which was recently detailed in an HBO special entitled Confirmation, began when a law professor at the University of Oklahoma named Anita Hill claimed that Thomas had sexually harassed her when he was her boss at two different government agencies. Hill did not come out in a bid to thwart Thomas’ nomination, she had spoken to friends years before while the harassment was allegedly ongoing, and the information got to the committee through a source.

Hill filed a confidential affidavit with the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming that while Thomas was her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, he had harassed her with inappropriate discussions about pornographic movies and sexual positions. Hill’s affidavit was leaked which led to a media frenzy surrounding the confirmation and accusations.

The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings ultimately turned into a he said/she said situation, but many felt that what happened to Anita Hill was a huge injustice. Both Democrats and Republican’s went after her, smearing her name and tarnishing her reputation. She was called histrionic and attention-seeking and even took a polygraph test to verify her claims – a test that she passed, while Thomas refused to take one. After it was revealed that Hill had passed the polygraph, Thomas went on the attack again saying that it was “a high-tech lynching for uppity Blacks”.

According to the Washington Examiner, court watchers are claiming that Thomas has been considering retiring for a while and he has never intended to remain on the court until he died. The loss of Thomas to the Court may not be that significant as he went a whopping eight years without asking a single question during a hearing.

Time will tell if Justice Clarence Thomas will actually retire after the election and many people are speculating on social media that this rumor could be intentional to try to influence conservatives in the upcoming election to get out and vote for Trump. With Justice Kennedy being almost 80-years-old and Justice Ginsburg being 83-years-old, there is a strong possibility that the next President could have an even bigger influence on the Court than originally thought.

[Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images]