Clarence Thomas Strays From Righty Line

Slams Bush team, backs consumer protection in recent case
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 9, 2009 9:12 AM CDT
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., in this 2007 file photo.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Clarence Thomas might be the Supreme Court’s rightmost justice, but he’s “never been shy about breaking with conventional wisdom,” writes David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times. In the latest such instance, he upheld injured patients’ right to sue drug companies, arguing that “agency musings”—in this case from the Bush administration—shouldn’t override state laws to protect consumers.

Several years ago, he disagreed with a ruling that allowed federal raids on California homes growing marijuana for their own use, legal in the state but not federally. In the drug case, right-leaning justices Roberts, Alito, and Scalia sided with a drug firm after it was sued for not fairly warning the public of the risks of an anti-nausea drug; Thomas disagreed.