Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has withdrawn himself as an instructor at George Washington University Law School for the fall semester, the school confirmed on Wednesday.
“Justice Thomas informed GW Law that he is unavailable to co-teach a constitutional law seminar this fall,” George Washington University spokesperson Josh Grossman said in a statement. “The students were promptly informed of Justice Thomas’ decision by his co-instructor who will continue to offer the seminar this fall.”
The justice’s withdrawal was first reported by the school’s student newspaper, The GW Hatchet.
It’s unclear if Thomas, who has been teaching at GW Law since 2011, will return to his post after the fall: The school does “not have additional information to share regarding Justice Thomas’ teaching availability,” Grossman said.
The school didn’t offer an explanation for Thomas’ decision.
However, thousands of students have demanded GW Law fire Thomas in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, in which Thomas wrote an alarming concurring opinion suggesting that the high court should revisit other privacy-related cases, like same-sex marriage and contraception rights.
But university officials rejected calls to remove the justice, telling the school community in an email last month that “just as we affirm our commitment to academic freedom, we affirm the right of all members of our community to voice their opinions and contribute to the critical discussions that are foundational to our academic mission.”
As of Thursday morning, nearly 11,500 people had signed a petition calling for Thomas’ ouster, which cited both the conservative justice’s actions on the high court and the fact that his wife, Ginni Thomas, had played an active role in trying to help Trumpworld steal the election.
Jon Kay, the GWU student who started the petition, told the Washington Post that Thomas’ departure was a “massive victory.”
“We are going to continue to work to make sure he doesn’t come back in the spring semester,” the student said.