A newsletter from TNR summed up my astonishment over recent revelations detailing the extent of Ginni Thomas’ involvement in the Big Lie. (I can never find URLs for newsletters–sorry about that.)
That stunning Washington Post piece by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa about Ginni Thomas’s text messages to Mark Meadows needs to be read at least twice to take in the full measure of corruption and venality it conveys. Here were people trying to overturn American democracy, saying that this was not politics but war—oh, and while saying all this, invoking the name of Jesus Christ.
The New Yorker described the reaction of legal ethicists to the revelation that Virginia (Ginni) Thomas–wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas–“colluded extensively with a top White House adviser about overturning Joe Biden’s defeat of then President Donald Trump.”
On March 24th, the Washington Post and CBS News reported that they had copies of twenty-nine text messages between Ginni Thomas and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. In those texts, she urged Meadows to help invalidate the results of the Presidential election, and employed QAnon conspiracy theories to justify her assertion that the election was an “obvious fraud.”
It was necessary, she told Meadows, to “release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.” Ginni Thomas’s texts to Meadows also refer to conversations that she’d had with “Jared”—possibly Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also served as a senior adviser to the Administration. (“Just forwarded to yr gmail an email I sent Jared this am.”)
Not surprisingly, the legal ethicists quoted in the New Yorker article were aghast; all of them agreed that–at a minimum–Clarence Thomas would have to recuse himself from participating in any case involving Trump, January 6th or the election. (In any sane political environment, these revelations would immediately generate an impeachment of Thomas, but given the extent to which partisanship reigns supreme in today’s Senate, the prospects of that outcome seem dim.)
Supreme Court Justices aren’t bound by the judicial code of conduct that applies to all other federal judges, which mandates that they recuse themselves from participating in any cases in which personal entanglements could cause a fair-minded member of the public to doubt their impartiality. Yet Justices are subject to a federal law that prohibits them from hearing cases in which their spouses have “an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.” The statute, 28 U.S.C. section 455, also requires them to disqualify themselves from any proceedings in which their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
Some of us have questioned Clarence Thomas’ “impartiality” for many years; the recent disclosures would seem to vindicate our suspicions.
Clarence Thomas was the only Justice to dissent from a Supreme Court decision allowing the House investigative committee to obtain records of Trump’s communications relating to the 2020 election results. It is very possible that those records included communications implicating Ginni Thomas in improper or illegal activities. And Thomas strongly dissented when the Court refused to hear a case filed by Pennsylvania Republicans trying to disqualify mail-in ballots.
Richard Hasen, an expert in election law who teaches at the University of California, Irvine, also believes that Justice Thomas should never have participated in the case weighing whether Congress had the right to review Trump’s papers. Hasen told me, “Given Ginni Thomas’s deep involvement in trying to subvert the outcome of the 2020 election based upon outlandish claims of voter fraud, and her work on this with not only activists but the former President’s chief of staff, Justice Thomas should not have heard any cases” involving disputes over the 2020 election or Congress’s investigation of the January 6th riots.
A post at Juanita Jean addressed the “coincidence” of Clarence Thomas’ recent hospitalization and emergence of these texts.The post noted that, despite repeated press attempts to get information about the infection that landed Thomas in the hospital, the requests have been met with silence.–a very unusual circumstance when the health of a Supreme Court Justice is at issue. (Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s every sniffle was reported.)
Gallup polling shows confidence in the Court hitting an all-time low–continuing a slide that began with the partisan decision in Bush v. Gore, and accelerating through the theft of what should have been Merrick Garland’s seat and the subsequent elevation of a frat-boy beer lover and a cultish theocrat to the high court.
A column from the New York Times sums it up
Yes, married people can lead independent professional lives, and it is not a justice’s responsibility to police the actions of his or her spouse. But the brazenness with which the Thomases have flouted the most reasonable expectations of judicial rectitude is without precedent. From the Affordable Care Act to the Trump administration’s Muslim ban to the 2020 election challenges, Ms. Thomas has repeatedly embroiled herself in big-ticket legal issues and with litigants who have wound up before her husband’s court. All the while, he has looked the other way, refusing to recuse himself from any of these cases. For someone whose job is about judging, Justice Thomas has, in this context at least, demonstrated abominably poor judgment.
35 thoughts on “Clarence And Ginni”
From the Anita Hill times, we knew this creep should never have been on the court. This is a mess.
Roberts should demand the resignation of Thomas, BTW, I agree that he should never have been a Federal judge at any level. He clearly lied during his Congressional hearings.
Lest we forget…Virginia Thomas was one of the first proponents of the backward, self-serving Tea Party movement. When Koch Industries, et. al., decided to highjack that simple-minded, anti-tax, pro-selfishness entity, Ginni went all in. I feel certain that she has been on the Koch payroll for years. She is a mindless, unhinged ideologue with no sense of country, the Constitution or anything else that doesn’t support self-centered, selfishness.
Then, there’s her pathetic husband. We might recall what a “victory” it was for GHW Bush to have nominated this guy to the bench. Political expediency 101. As I said yesterday, this is what the fox in the hen house looks like. NOBODY, not even Brett Kavanaugh, is less competent to be a SCOTUS Justice.
This is what happens when Republicans are given power. They serve their corporate masters dutifully. Be sure to read the Lewis Powell memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calling for corporate/banking America to take over the power structures, educational institutions and all politics. Oh, and Powell was put on the court – for a brief time – by none other than Richard Nixon…another Republican criminal. Way to go, GOP!
If anyone wants to know why the polls are so weak for SCOTUS, one has to look no further than the Republican idiots who put them there.
The problem our “legal ethicists” know is impartial governments exist all over this country. Still, impartiality is the fundamental premise of a government, but it’s not illegal to be impartial.
This is why I spent my $100 bill for filing fees to sue the City of Muncie. I proved that our local government was impartial through FOIA requests and discovery.
However, there are no laws forbidding impartiality. I wonder why? LOL
There are no “ethics police” which is why they are all so corrupt. The political parties won’t put laws on the books making certain activities illegal for good reason. Look at all the insider trading taking place in Congress and at the FED.
Ginni Thomas’s actions should have gotten her hubby removed from SCOTUS, but being immoral and unethical isn’t illegal. However, since she helped with an insurrection, she should be charged as an insurrectionist.
Sadly, none of the financiers of the insurrection have been indicted by the Democrats. The Kochs financed the insurrection and do business in Russia. Will the Democrats indict or sanction them?
Of course not.
That’s why I call Washington and NY farcical theater. It’s also why American citizens have such low opinions of our institutions. This comes with consequences as China and Russia lead the world in another direction where the yuan reigns supreme, and the dollar loses its place.
Greed has consequences.
At the end of the day it is Clearance Thomas himself, and only Clarence Thomas, who is responsible for his conduct on the court. That there seems to be little or no way to bring him to justice rests with us, the people.
It is maddening that no misdeeds by republicans seem to matter to anyone who has the authority to address them.
Clarence Thomas has continuously been a despicable disgrace to the Supreme Court. He has revealed his personal views on supreme court cases far too many times.
His wife’s incredulous lie that she and her husband don’t talk to each other about their work was beyond belief. Only a pathological liar could say that and expect people to believe it.
Clarence has repeatedly publicly referred to his wife as his best friend that he can talk to and rant about anything. So, when she texted Meadows that her best friend gave her a pep talk that made her feel better she surely couldn’t have been referring to her husband – right?
How many commenters on this blog believe that he will refuse to recuse himself from any future January 6 cases?
Why isn’t there a Code of Ethics for members of the Supreme Court? Not that lower court justices always follow their code of ethics, but at least they can be held accountable if they are challenged.
Sheila, can you tell us why there isn’t a code of ethics for them?
Theresa Bowers , re: your comment “there seems to be little or no way to bring him to justice” could also apply to the efforts to indict and prosecute DT . I truly don’t think he’ll ever be held legally responsible, and pay the price, for his crimes against this nation and populace . I believe there are those in his employ that whisper things in others ears that cause those others to find different endeavors to explore , and leave him alone .
A prominent feature of our democracy, as legend has it, is “the rule of law”. As the “American Idea” crumbles before our teary eyes, we see ever more clearly what has been there all along, there is no “rule of law” if you are rich/powerful. The “rules” are reflections of ideals; when they are violated, we see they are superspeedways with no guardrails and no one on patrol.
The rule of law only applies to the poverty-stricken teen who steals some food from the dollar store to help her Mom and siblings get by.
In fairness, Meadows’ responses look like he’s just trying to put Thomas off without any real commitment. Thomas, on the other hand, yesterday’s comments on language notwithstanding because it’s the only adjective I can think to use, is just fucking insane. I mean, like, not-even-on-this-planet crazy.
Lester- so very true. We all know this, but don’t have a way to change it because the foxes are always guarding the henhouse.
IMHO, the Supremes should be required, by statute if necessary, to abide by the same ethics rules that apply to all other Federal Judges. If John Roberts were as concerned about the court’s reputation as he claims, he would have already done this, without the need for Congressional action.
Anyone who has been paying attention to national political issues in recent decades should know that the Supreme Court is not necessarily quite so “supreme” in it’s actions or judgements. Politics are and will always be a tug of war, even at the level of the Supreme Court. There will always be supposedly “distinguished justices” that will allow their own politics to creep into the judgements they make. And making attempts to overturn significant precedents set by the Court that have held over time is a good indication that these judges are not all that “supreme ” in nature.
Is Clarence’s flu of the stomach variety (as in sick to his stomach to find out what his wife did), or a feel sorry for me move, to take eyes off his wife?
Today’s GOP party is deplorable, to use their own words. Their foremost faces have sunk lower than low, all in homage to a person who is the most deplorable of all. They worship him and all his actions as the end all way to act and express yourself.
If his minions get their way, there will definitely be an end all, to democracy, to the United States, to civilization, to world order.
But Hillary’s e-mails…
Being the only person to dissent to the Jan 6th committee records request is the one really red flaming flag that puts all of his ethics into question. When just one of 8 other justices can’t see his side, then something is extremely broken, and what was published in his dissent is not a legal argument, but a justification for some other motivation that is not apparent to the rest of us, that is until now.
I don’t know what John Roberts, as Chief Justice, has been given for responsibilities but the tanking public confidence in his court must be at least concerning to him for legacy reasons at a minimum.
I recently read a 2016 essay on the “high-tech lynching” of 1991 and wonder if — since texts are involved this time around — His Nibs will once again declare his nefarious wife a victim of high-tech lynching. https://www.vox.com/2016/4/16/11408576/anita-hill-clarence-thomas-confirmation
Professor Kennedy rightly mentions Bush v. Gore as a starting point for the slide in respect for the SCOTUS. It was the second theft of the presidency by Republicans, following the Hayes-Tilden Affair in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
I was a member of the Supreme Court bar for many years prior to Bush v. Gore, where the dissent should have been the majority decision but for raw politics. Following such decision I submitted my resignation from that bar to its Clerk stating, among other things, that I did not wish to be a member of the bar of a court that itself acted unconstitutionally.
How to end judicial determination of who won? Reinstate majority rule via raw vote while ending the electoral college in one bold legislative sweep.
I believe that Chief Justice Roberts is the only person who can do anything about this without political repercussions, and it’s time that he honor his oath to the Constitution. Might I suggest a mandatory weekly Justice development refresher course in legal ethics?
In the meantime, yes, you can write to members of the Supreme Court. I hear they pay more attention to hand written letters, so it’s time to get the pen and paper out.
Wake up! Many recent studies show that most elected officials ignore letters, hand written or not, from their constituents, either because their vote is in the hands of the Party or their ideology or special interests or just because the majority of them are generated by “campaigns”, like the one you are suggesting. So, why would UNELECTED judges pay any attention. Dream on about the basic values of this society today…
Teresa: Clearance Thomas…I do like the sound of it. Freudian slip or a typo perhaps, but it has merit. Nice one!
Lester, there is no need to be rude.
If you had looked at the article, you would have seen that point is influence the discussion through the people around the justices. A concise politely written letter will stand out. Yes, it’s a shot in the dark but worth the time on the chance it might get through.
Or we could just sit on our hands an complain from the sidelines.
I have thought for many years that Clarence Thomas is nothing but a token on the Supreme Court.
He is not fit to be in the same room with Thurgood Marshall. Mrs. Thomas has gone way over the line, and should be held responsible for her husband’s resignation. There is simply no way these two did not discuss cases between themselves, and Justice Thomas should take the high road and resign.
Wallflower – apologies if I seemed rude – their was zero intent for that. Could not agree more about “complaining from the sidelines”, but…we are at a point where marching and letter writing do little. IMHO, the one single thing any one of us can do is hone in on increasing voting by those who have given up on government and getting servant leaders, not “pols” elected.
Apologies accepted. And I agree that we need to increase voting. Especially among young people.
Ginny Thomas illustrates that there are two types who support the Big Lie: those gullible enough to believe it in spite of the total lack of evidence (after so many failed lawsuits) and those who know it’s a lie but have a vested interest in promoting it to those gullible enough to follow.
Remember when a ways back we talked about martial law? The quickest way to rectify the issue, is for the president to declare martial law then suspend habeas corpus. If there’s wrongdoing in the supreme court, the president can rectify that problem before he reinstates habeas corpus! He could recommend impeachment for certain Justices or add more justices to the court.
Appointing the last three supreme Court justices, I think recompense would be an appropriate issue here. There could be a lot of cleanup, with these conspiracy theorists, these specific treasonous broadcast personalities, gerrymandering, and treasonous politicians.
Maybe put rules and bylaws in place so that these fixes could not be undone, and then restore function of government! The way I see it, time would be, or should be of the essence, there is no time to continue the gridlock and play games. I think Biden would be trustworthy enough to do it, but if they wait around, the GOP will positively do it the next time they have a president in place.
There are history making circumstance/situations that continue to avail themselves, they shouldn’t be left to slip through the fingers!
When I read Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in 1964, the tumultuous years on the 1380’s seemed more bleak than the back and then headlines of social revolt. Now it is 2022 I have lived long enough to wonder if a descendant of Geoffrey Chaucer is entertains a sequel! Folks, we cannot make this stuff up!
I’m less interested in punishing Ginni Thomas than in limiting Clarence Thomas’ involvement in Supreme Court cases. I can’t imagine any circumstances in which she would want or let him resign. He’s her ticket to influence in Washington. And he shows no willingness to recuse himself on anything unless forced to do so.
The Chief Justice should gather the other justices to insist at the very least on adoption of the same codes of conduct that apply to other judges. If that doesn’t work, he can fail to assign opinions, law clerks, other staff, parking privileges or whatever other perks must be denied until Thomas gets the message and behaves. Who would Thomas sue – the Supreme Court?
Justice Thomas has always been an oddball – He long has believed that the decisions of those “activist liberal Justices” should be overturned, including Loving v. Virginia, in which case he would be a criminal because he lives in Virginia and Ginni is white.
He will never recuse himself from any case, and I don’t see anyone making him change his mind. If giving the presidency to the son of the man who gave you a lifetime appointment didn’t signal his personal code of ethics, you weren’t paying attention.
Today, my nephew became a US citizen (#2 foreign born nephew to do so). I remember my wife (also a naturalize citizen) being astounded by (1) Trevor Noah being able to be on the air with his political humor and (2) the idea that NOBODY is above the law, even Presidents and Supreme Court Justices, especially this second one.
To bad it is only an idea.
Just now seeing this. I certainly don’t agree that Anita Hill’s testimony about events that supposedly happened decades earlier and were not supported by much in the way of evidence (to say the least) should have kept Thomas off the court. I really think what the Democrats tried to do to Thomas during that hearing was one of the worst things I’ve seen in politics. They published magazine articles encouraging people to come forward with dirt on Thomas. They actually went through his trash looking for stuff to use against him.
But I am very concerned about Ginni Thomas political activity and its possible effect on Thomas. But I write about a bigger picture concern of mine. Lifetime appointment of federal judges. It was a mistake by the Founders. I’d love to see Supreme Court justices serve only 18 years with the terms staggered so an opening happens every 2 years.
With Scalia gone, it would seem like Ginny Thomas is in charge of writing her husband’s “opinions.” How can anyone explain his latest dissent?
patmcc:”From the Anita Hill times, we knew this creep should never have been on the court.”
You can thank Joe Biden.
I echo Vernon Turner’s sentiments as well as many others who are both outraged and disgusted with the arrogance of the republican party.
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