Tags: thomas | supreme | court | irresponsible | comments | obama | campaign

Justice Thomas: Questioning of Court 'Irresponsible'

Thursday, 04 Feb 2010 02:13 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says some questioning of the court and government is getting out of hand.

Thomas told an audience Thursday at the University of Florida law school that some of the comments "border on being irresponsible" and "run the risk in our society of undermining institutions that we need to preserve our liberties."

Thomas did not speak specifically about the court's recent decision on campaign financing or mention President Barack Obama.

But his comments come a week after Obama took the rare step of openly criticizing the decision during his State of the Union speech.

Thomas supported the 5-4 ruling that allows companies and unions to spend freely on ads that promote or target particular candidates by name.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told Florida law students that corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to spend money on political candidates.

Thomas spoke Tuesday at Stetson University and defended the Supreme Court's recent decision that corporations and unions can spend freely from their treasuries to run political ads for or against specific candidates.

"I found it fascinating that the people who were editorializing against it were The New York Times Company and The Washington Post Company," Thomas said, according to a report in The New York Times. "These are corporations."

Thomas, who is scheduled to talk to University of Florida law students Thursday, voted with the majority last month in the 5-4 decision. The ruling earned a public scolding from President Obama during his State of the Union address last week.

Thomas did not directly address the flap over Obama's remarks, but he told Stetson students he wasn't there to hear them in person.

"I don't go because it has become so partisan and it's very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there," he said, adding that "there's a lot that you don't hear on TV — the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the-breath comments."

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