Who Backed Down – Justice Clarence Thomas Or GWU?

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Who Backed Down – Justice Clarence Thomas or GWU? He Will Not Be Teaching There – No Longer Listed on Faculty

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 27,2022) – Justice Clarence Thomas, who has taught at the George Washington University (GWU) since 2011, will not teach his usual course this fall, notes GWU public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Justice Clarence Thomas Removed From GWU’s Faculty List

Whether he will ever teach there again is unclear since, as Politico just reported, “Justice Thomas No Longer Listed as GWU Faculty after Roe Backlash”:

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"Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is not listed as an instructor for any courses on the website for George Washington University’s law school, where he’s taught since 2011, a removal that follows the high court’s controversial decision undoing decades of precedent protecting a nationwide right to abortion access. . . .His role in the decision prompted a GWU student to launch a petition signed by 11,300 people calling for Thomas to be removed from his teaching post at the university."

But, as Banzhaf previously reported, his law school and university stood tall, turning down the students' petition for reasons of academic freedom and free speech.As he reported in "GWU Agrees Not to Fire Justice Thomas; Denies Student Cancel-Culture Petition to Terminate His Classes":

"The George Washington University (GWU) agreed, after hearing strong statements from numerous members of its law school faculty, not to fire Justice Clarence Thomas who teaches a course at the GWU Law School.

"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 Justice Thomas' employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions."

It continued: "like all faculty members at our university, Justice Thomas has academic freedom and freedom of expression and inquiry. Our university’s academic freedom guidelines state: “The ideas of different faculty members and of various other members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals within or outside the University from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

"This, he notes, is in stark contrast with the actions of neighboring Georgetown University which recently fired a faculty member for expressing views some found offensive, and then allowed him to come to work only after warning that any future expression of the same views would likely lead to his being fired again."

Also, here's how LAW.COM reported on the situation, and Professor Banzhaf's views concerning academic freedom.

Cancel Culture Demand

"John F. Banzhaf III, professor emeritus of public interest law at GW Law, saidthe petition represents the 'ultimate cancel culture demand.'

'These sound like the same students who signed a petition asking their GW university to ban the stick figure used on lighted crosswalk signs on campus because they feel ‘oppressed’ because the figure appears to be that of a white man telling them what to do,'

According to Banzhaf, 'while there have been many other situations in which students have demanded that a professor be relieved of all his teaching duties because some disagreed with his views, this may well be the first time that students want to stop a Supreme Court justice from agreeing to teach at a law school.'”

Since all parties directly involved in involved in the situation have refused to explain or otherwise comment on these events, it's not clear who backed down.But Banzhaf bets it wasn't his law school.