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Supreme Court Justice Thomas, At Georgia Building Dedication, Warns Of Judicial Overreach

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivers a keynote speech during a dedication of Georgia new Nathan Deal Judicial Center Tuesday, in Atlanta.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivers a keynote speech during a dedication of Georgia new Nathan Deal Judicial Center Tuesday, in Atlanta.
Credit John Amis / Associated Press
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Supreme Court Justice and Georgia native Clarence Thomas said the judicial branch serves to keep all three branches of government  –  including itself – in line.

But, he said, as part of this responsibility, judges can’t be swayed by their personal beliefs or opinions

“Each time a judge sidesteps or manipulates the law to achieve his or her desired outcome, the rule of law suffers and is undermined and eventually compromised,” Thomas said.

He said judges, as “imperfect and flawed” human beings, must be disciplined not to overstep their bounds.

He spoke Tuesday at the dedication of Georgia’s new Nathan Deal Judicial Center. It’s the first building in Georgia designed entirely for the judiciary. He called the six-story concrete and granite building “magnificent” but said it will ultimately be defined by what’s done within it.

“Let that work in this judicial center be worthy of the hope and trust that has been placed in us as judges, as jurists and as members of the judiciary,” Thomas said.

The $131 million building near the state Capital, is named in honor of former Gov. Nathan Deal, who oversaw criminal justice reform in his eight years leading the state.

He grew emotional as he addressed the crowd.

“Buildings signify things,” Deal said. “They are representations of the values that we, as a people, place on certain elements of our lives. This building, hopefully, will be regarded as a symbol that Georgia is a state that believes in part of its motto being ‘justice’.”

The building is the new home to Georgia’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. More than $7 million was approved by the General Assembly in 2014 to design the building. Ground was broken in August 2017.