(NewsNation) — Supreme Court justices can serve for life — but that doesn’t necessarily apply to any side gigs they take on.
Over the weekend, students at George Washington University launched a petition asking the school to fire Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from his position as an adjunct professor and lecturer at the university’s law school, where he teaches constitutional law.
The petition racked up nearly 7,500 signatures in days. It cited the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, as well as the justice’s concurring opinion.
One of the students behind the petition shared his thoughts while appearing Wednesday on “Dan Abrams Live.”
“There are a number of conservative professors at GW. The reason that we want Justice Thomas gone isn’t because of his ideas, it’s because of the actions that his ideas have informed. Overturning Roe and his stated intention to overturn Obergefell will disenfranchise thousands of queer students,” Jonathan Kay said.
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While the rights of gay students to marry wouldn’t necessarily be at risk in D.C., Kay asked what happens to students when they return “back home to Missouri, to Kansas, to Montana, to Alabama, to visit to Texas, everywhere, where those rights will be stripped away where it will become illegal again to marry who you love if you’re gay, where it will become illegal, again, to be gay, if Lawrence v. Texas (is) overturned. This isn’t about an academic debate. It’s about a professor that does not respect his students and does not hold certain students to the same esteem that he holds other students,” Kay said.
Kay believes there is a difference between Justice Thomas and other conservative professors “specifically because Justice Thomas is paving the way to overturn those rights.”
Kay says some students feel that by continuing the employment of Thomas, GWU is endorsing his actions.
Still, University Provost Christopher Bracy and GW Law Dean Dana Bowen announced Tuesday that Thomas will retain his teaching position. In an email, they said they steadfastly support the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation, and that they will neither terminate Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class.