Clarence Thomas: Court should reconsider LGBTQ, reproductive rights rulings

Justice Clarence Thomas said in his concurring opinion to the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday that the court should reconsider the “substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” The three cases Thomas reference are major rulings involving reproductive, LGBTQ+ and civic rights.

Justice Clarence Thomas said in his concurring opinion to the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday that the court should reconsider the “substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” The three cases Thomas reference are major rulings involving reproductive, LGBTQ+ and civic rights. (Erin Schaff, New York Times via Associated Press)



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WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said in his concurring opinion to the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday that the court should reconsider cases involving reproductive, LGBTQ+ and same-sex marriage rights.

Thomas acknowledged that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade does not apply outside of abortion but argued that the Constitution's due process clause does not provide the right to an abortion or any other substantive rights.

Specifically, Thomas wrote that the court should reconsider "substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell," references to major rulings involving reproductive, LGBTQ+ and civic rights.

  • Griswold v. Connecticut was decided in 1965 and provided married couples the right to contraception without government interference. This ruling inferred the right to privacy and played a role in using the right to privacy in cases involving LGBTQ+, contraceptive and abortion rights.
  • Lawrence v. Texas was decided in 2003 and invalidated sodomy laws — which banned same-sex sexual activity — across the country.
  • Obergefell v. Hodges was the landmark ruling in 2015 that granted same-sex couples the right to marriage. This decision was a 5-4 ruling with current Supreme Court justices Thomas and Samuel Alito among the dissenting.

In the majority draft opinion regarding overturning Roe v. Wade that was leaked in May, Alito said his reasoning only applies to abortion and rejected assumptions the decision could apply to Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell.

"Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion," Alito wrote.

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