A petition calling for the impeachment of justice Clarence Thomas has skyrocketed in signatures in the aftermath of Roe V Wade, topping more than one million as of Monday (4 July).
The advocacy group MoveOn created the petition earlier in the year after Thomas’ wife Ginni had reportedly pressured members who were associated with Donald Trump’s presidency to overturn the 2020 election result.
After calls for justice Thomas to recuse himself from cases related to the 6 January 2021 insurrection on the US Capitol had fallen on deaf ears, the petition was created, claiming that “he has shown he cannot be an impartial justice and is more concerned with covering up his wife’s coup attempts”.
Now, after the Supreme Court voted to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade court ruling that ratified abortion as a basic human right across the US, the petition has felt a seismic resurgence.
“Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas – who sided with the majority on overturning Roe – made it clear what’s next: to overturn high court rulings that establish gay rights and contraception rights,” the petition reads.
As reported by Newsweek, signatures have risen in the hundreds of thousands since the court’s decision last week and is expected to continue rising.
Several notes from those who signed it have deplored justice Thomas’ actions and called for his impeachment, saying he “cannot be fair, unbiased, objective, or work on behalf of the United States government or its people, as is a requirement of Supreme Court justices”.
Another said that he “shouldn’t have been there in the first place”, while others took their chance to express that “women’s rights are human rights” in reference to the now-shaky ground that legal abortions are on from state to state.
The decision has already had far-reaching implications for both abortion-based legislation and beyond. More than half of states are expected to ban or restrict abortion in some capacity.
Confusion about what certain state-specific rules mean for doctors’ legal safety has also caused certain contraceptives to have been briefly pulled from shelves. A hospital chain in Missouri mistakenly pulled the Plan B contraceptive after fearing that doctors may face criminal charges for its distribution.
As well as this, Alabama officials have already attempted to cite the decision in a document aiming to restrict trans-youth healthcare after a ban was blocked by a Trump-appointed federal judge who said the state failed to prove “credible evidence to show that transitioning medications are ‘experimental’”.
The incident in Alabama is believed to be one of the first-known citations of the decision since its official declaration on 24 June in a subject outside the realm of abortion-based healthcare.
Justice Thomas suggested that the decision should open the opportunity to reconsider “all of this court’s substantive due process precedent”, including legislation that legalised contraceptives, same-sex marriage, and other rulings.
Thomas was appointed by former President George HW Bush in 1991, being the longest-serving current member of the Superme Court to date. He was one of the judges to vote against the 2015 Supreme Court ruling to legalise same-sex marriage.