The article cited here makes the point that justices have law and precedents that must be followed when writing their opinions.  The author of this article believes that Justice Clarence Thomas has abandoned those principles and is making up law consistent with his own personal agenda, especially when dealing with constitutional issues.  This approach to the court’s rulings can cause many problems in the future.

The advantage to California’s Lemon Laws and Consumer Protection Statutes is the lack of wiggle room by the courts.  Your consumer rights in California are closely guarded.

U.S. SUPREME COURT

Thomas writes most opinions this term; law prof sees ‘strange tone’ and abandonment of judicial role

POSTED JUL 15, 2015 07:54 AM CDT
BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

Is Justice Clarence Thomas abandoning the judicial role in opinions that disdain precedent and air his “idiosyncratic ideas”?

University of Baltimore law professor Garrett Epps makes the argument that Thomas is “not a judge at all” in an op-ed for the Atlantic. Thomas appears to operate, Epps writes, “as a kind of would-be Platonic guardian, eager to govern the nation according to his own personal opinions—opinions to which law, and fact, and indeed reasoned argument, are all but irrelevant.”

“Thomas on the bench simply does not conform to expected judicial norm,” Epps writes. “He does not take part in the arguments before the court. His decisions rest on unusual grounds, often not even mentioned in the briefs; he will not even air his idiosyncratic ideas at a time when others might engage them. He does not tend to limit himself to the issue presented or the factual context within which it is embedded.” Thomas wrote 36 opinions this term, a “personal best” and making him “number one for the term by a long shot,” Epps says. Half were dissents.

Many of the dissents joined by other justices had a “strange tone,” and stranger still are Thomas’ solo dissents, Epps says. “The other eight justices, taking their cue from the lawyers, often debate the meaning of the court’s precedents. Thomas seems to find little profit in that; instead, he often suggests that the question will be easy if the court simply overturns a century or so of precedent.”

In his dissent in the gay marriage case, Obergefell vs. Hodges, Thomas didn’t even mention key gay-rights precedents. Instead, Epps says, “he mashed up John Locke, Magna Carta, 18th-century British legal philosophy, natural law, and the Declaration of Independence.”

Thomas cited those sources to conclude that liberty means “freedom from physical restraint.” According to Epps, “It’s a perfectly logical argument—if one concludes that every ‘due process’ liberty case ever decided is wrong. Under the new Thomas rule, the same-sex couples in Obergefell had not been injured, because they had not been ‘imprisoned or physically restrained by the states for participating in same-sex relationships.’ ”

Hat tip to How Appealing.