Justice Clarence Thomas: ‘I’m not retiring’

Justice Clarence Thomas said over the weekend he is not planning on retiring from the Supreme Court.

“I’m not retiring,” Thomas said, while speaking at Pepperdine University on Saturday. He was responding to a hypothetical question from the university president-elect, James Gash, that began, “20 years from now, at your retirement party…”

“20 years?” Gash followed up.

“No,” Thomas responded.

“30 years?” Gash asked.

“No,” Thomas said.

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Thomas’s comments suggest the justice, who is 70 years old, is not considering relinquishing his seat to a younger President Donald Trump nominee.

Thomas is on the far right of the generally conservative Supreme Court, and has been an associate justice since 1991.

In February, Thomas issued a shocking opinion criticizing a landmark First Amendment case, and reignited a whisper campaign among progressives that this opinion was a kind of last salvo as he was preparing to retire.

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Those close to Thomas saw his opinion as an opportunity for Thomas to plant seeds for the future in an area of law that he thinks deserves more attention. His opinion is rooted in the judicial philosophy of originalism — a theory also championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.