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Clarence Thomas will not teach at George Washington University this fall, weeks after a student-led petition sought his removal

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Clarence Thomas
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File
  • Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will not teach at GWU Law School this fall.

  • Thomas' co-lecturer said the justice would be "unavailable" for the upcoming semester.

  • Thomas had previously taught a course at the law school in Washington, DC, since 2011.

Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will not be teaching at George Washington University Law School this fall, the school's student newspaper reported Wednesday.

The news, which comes weeks after circulation of a student-led petition to fire Thomas as a lecturer over his June 24 vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, was announced in an email from Gregory Maggs, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, who has been co-teaching a constitutional law seminar with Thomas since 2011.

"Unfortunately, I am writing with some sad news: Justice Thomas has informed me that he is unavailable to co-teach the seminar this fall. I know that this is disappointing. I am very sorry," Maggs wrote in an email to the class obtained by The GW Hatchet.

He continued: "The seminar has not been canceled but I will now be the sole instructor. For those of you still interested in taking the course, I assure you that we will make the best of the new situation."

A university spokesperson on Wednesday afternoon confirmed the decision.

"Justice Thomas informed GW Law that he is unavailable to co-teach a Constitutional Law Seminar this fall. The students were promptly informed of Justice Thomas' decision by his co-instructor who will continue to offer the seminar this fall," the spokesperson said.

Thomas faced a wave of criticism for being part of the conservative bloc that overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and established the constitutional right to the procedure. The justice also sparked controversy over his concurring opinion, in which he wrote that the Supreme Court should "reconsider" other rulings that deal with privacy rights, including decisions that protect contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage rights.

Last month, an online petition created by a student at George Washington called for the university to end their relationship with Thomas, stating that his continued employment at the school was "completely unacceptable." The petition has since garnered over 11,300 signatures.

George Washington Law Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Christopher Bracey sent a note to the university community in response, stating that it would not end Thomas' class or terminate his employment at the institution.

"Because we steadfastly support the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation, and because debate is an essential part of our university's academic and educational mission to train future leaders who are prepared to address the world's most urgent problems, the university will neither terminate Justices Thomas' employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions," the letter stated.

Thomas has also been under immense scrutiny over his wife's alleged involvement in efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.

The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack has obtained texts and emails from Ginni Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, in which she urged then-White House officials and Republican state legislators not to accept the results of the election. The committee, which has held a series of public hearings in recent months, has requested an interview from Ginni.

Read the original article on Business Insider