NPR’s Nina Totenberg describes a court that can barely function:
Normally at this time of year, the justices would be exchanging hundreds of pages of draft opinions and working with each other to resolve differences and reach consensus in the most challenging cases of the term. Instead, the court is riven with distrust among the law clerks, staff and, most of all, the justices themselves.
The atmosphere behind the scenes is so ugly that, as one source put it, "the place sounds like it's imploding."
Justice Clarence Thomas is publicly whining:
"When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I'm in, it changes the institution fundamentally," he told a conservative group.
"You begin to look over your shoulder. It's like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it but you can't undo it."
Specifically, he implied that he doesn't trust Chief Justice John Roberts.
But it’s Thomas, himself, who has a lot to do with the public’s loss of trust. His wife, Ginni, has been exposed as deeply involved in the MAGA effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Yet Clarence Thomas has refused to recuse himself from cases involving the election or the January 6th insurrection that was an aftermath of those efforts.
It's quite possible Clarence and/or Ginni Thomas did the leaking of the Roe decision that has probably caused discord on the court, too. The leaked decision revokes a 50-year right for women's health. The majority of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
The leak probe, itself, may have put Thomas on edge. “Some justices may forbid cooperation with a probe they see as a witch hunt,” Totenberg notes. It's not hard to imagine Thomas in that camp.
"I don't know how on earth the court is going to finish up its work this term," a source “close to the justices” told Totenberg.
It's probably not going to get better any time soon.