Clarence Thomas’ activist wife Ginni is in the news again for her activities surrounding the Trump terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol in an attempted insurrection against the United States Government, the same government for which Thomas is supposedly acting as a justice for the highest court in the land.
This time, we learned via CNN that Ginni Thomas also texted former Trump Chief of Staff and coup organizer Mark Meadows about another Republican friend who had claims of election fraud, while urging Meadows to fight to overturn the election.
This friend is Connie Hair, chief of staff to Republican Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, whom both Ginni and Clarence have seen on social outings.
Sure, that’s plenty enough wrong but of course with this crowd, it gets much worse. “Around that same time, Hair’s boss, Gohmert, filed or supported two lawsuits challenging the election that eventually landed before the Supreme Court.”
The court ultimately declined to hear those cases. But the issue continues to shine a light on the lack of oversight for the Supreme Court, a problem which will only become more urgent given two of Trump’s unqualified and unvetted justices (Barrett and Kavanaugh).
As pointed out earlier in these pages, in order to maintain the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the court, “The standard for conflicts is that a judge or attorney will avoid cases whenever they have a direct conflict of interest or cases in which there is even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Yes, the appearance alone is cause to recuse. And indeed, many legal experts have been suggesting that Thomas should consider recusing himself. There’s been a lot of noise about Ginni having rights to do as she pleases, but not only is this not the first go around for these two in terms of Ginni’s activism impacting current cases like Ginni picking George W. Bush’s SCOTUS nominees with conservative activist group Heritage as her husband Clarence heard Bush V Gore, but we are talking about a deadly attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.
We are talking about treason, or at the very least a betrayal of the very foundation of the concept of a democracy. Clarence Thomas is married to someone who actively seeks to take power away from the winning party in what was dubbed “the most secure in American history” by experts.
Furthermore, an investigation published in February of 2022 revealed that Clarence Thomas had violated ethical guidelines and was unfit for his position.
The brutal reality is we do not have “the rule of law” with a Supreme Court that does not apply the law impersonally and with justices who are not subject to the same rules. Without a strong rule of law, we do not have a solid democracy. Maintaining legitimate rule of law is an ongoing struggle, it is not something that we establish and then leave alone and it continues without effort.
The very fact that Clarence Thomas does not think he should recuse himself from cases in which his own wife is playing an activist role informs us that he is not capable of regulating himself and the Court is not capable of imposing the most basic ethics demands upon the individual justices.
U.S. Congressional candidate for Minnesota’s first Congressional District Richard W. Painter, also a law professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005-07, tweeted, “The House Judiciary Committee should investigate whether Justice Thomas violated the federal recusal statute for judges by participating in a case involving a Congressional subpoena covering his wife’s texts to the White House on January 6. If so, he should be impeached.
“Only a fool would give a group of people power over other people’s lives plus lifetime tenure and then let them make their own rules for behavior in their positions. The Constitution has an impeachment clause. Congress needs to start an investigation.”
The Constitution states that Justices “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.” The only Justice to be impeached was Associate Justice Samuel Chase in 1805,
on charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct. The House of Representatives impeached Chase, but he was acquitted by the Senate.
The modern Republican Party is a power-only party. Their only values are grabbing power in any way they can and then keeping it. Gone is the “small government” “fiscal conservative” “law and order” party. Now it’s basically operating like a mix between a cult and mob family.
Even though it will go nowhere, it would establish grounds within the public’s mind for why laws need to be passed governing the conduct of Supreme Court justices and why the seats need to be term-limited instead of a lifetime appointment. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and all of that.
Additionally, a Congressional investigation could well make the case for adding justices to SCOTUS. President Biden’s bipartisan White House commission agreed that Congress has the legal power to expand the Supreme Court
, though they warn it could be seen as partisan – a bitter pill if ever there were one. They determined that adding seats would be “likely to undermine, rather than enhance, the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and its role in the constitutional system.” This was in October of 2021, before Russia invaded Ukraine and before Ginni and Clarence Thomas’ deeper involvement in the insurrection came to light.
But it begs the question, is it partisan to want the rule of law and to be tasked with re-establishing it after a decade plus of Republicans refusing to do their job for the People and instead weaponizing Citizens United to such an extent that our country is basically run for the benefit and pleasure of wealthy corporations and people? Is it partisan now to stand WITH the United States of America, against the traitors who plotted from high offices to overthrow it?
While expanding the court might look partisan sans context, with context it most certainly is not a partisan indulgence but a necessity if we are to have a legitimate Supreme Court. And if that can’t be done, at the very least the Supreme Court must be held to the same ethical guidelines as lower courts.
Clarence Thomas should not be sitting on the Supreme Court, and it is an under-reaction to suggest he should recuse. Painter is absolutely correct, Thomas deserves to be impeached for this. He and his wife made possible an outrageous attack on the founding ideals of our country and tried to steal an election for a fascist-style dictator wannabe.
This isn’t about Clarence’s horribly noxious and gross positions (he’s against equal rights for women, aka feminism, for example, but that’s to be expected with someone whose personal code of ethics is so morally bankrupt). It’s a matter of protecting our system of government and of upholding the law.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.