As Washington politicians and commentators scrutinize Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, abortion and church/state relations have emerged as key issues surrounding Bush’s appointee to the high court. And while Thomas’s history on the bench leaves many questions unanswered, most Court observers agree he would probably serve to solidify the judicial trend that has already emerged on the Court.

Thomas has never decided a case involving abortion or publicly stated his views on Roe v. Wade. Prolife activists say even without Thomas, six members of the Court are open to arguments to overturn Roe. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) has not taken a position on Thomas, but expressed satisfaction that he has pledged to “faithfully interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench.”

Another clue to Thomas’s views may be found in his participation in a 22-member White House working group on the family, headed by former Reagan aide Gary Bauer, now president of the Family Research Council (FRC). In 1986, the working group released its report, which among other things criticized the Supreme Court for striking down “state attempts to protect the life of children in utero, [and] to protect paternal interest in the life of the child before birth,” citing the Roe decision.

The National Abortion Rights Action League, the National Organization for Women, and other abortion advocates are opposing Thomas’s nomination based on the fact that he once praised an American Spectator article that called abortion on demand “a spurious right born exclusively of judicial supremacy.”

Church/State Cases

Thomas has also never ruled on a church/state case or articulated his philosophy on the separation of church and state. This has been a ...

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