U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas faced fresh calls to step down on September 1 after new reporting revealed that his wife’s involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election was broader than previously known, extending to the battleground state of Wisconsin as well as Arizona.
Emails obtained by The Washington Post and the organization Documented show that Ginni Thomas, a longtime far-right activist with close ties to the conservative dark money network, “messaged two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin: state Sen. Kathy Bernier, then chair of the Senate elections committee, and state Representative Gary Tauchen,” the newspaper reported.
“Bernier and Tauchen received the email at 10:47 a.m. on November 9, virtually the same time the Arizona lawmakers received a verbatim copy of the message from Thomas,” The Post added. “Ginni Thomas’ political activism is highly unusual for the spouse of a Supreme Court justice, and for years it has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest for her husband. She has said that the two of them keep their professional lives separate.”
But watchdog groups and Democratic lawmakers have questioned that claim and demanded that Thomas, at the very least, recuse himself from election-related cases—something he notably didn’t do while his wife was engaged in attempts to keep former President Donald Trump in power.
“Reminder that Clarence Thomas heard election cases while his wife conspired to overthrow democracy,” U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted on September 1. “Clarence Thomas is corrupt as hell and should resign from the Supreme Court.”
House Democrats have also called on the party leadership to launch impeachment proceedings against the right-wing justice, a demand backed by more than 1.2 million people across the United States.
“Justice Clarence Thomas is on the highest court in America, yet his wife was part of a coup to overthrow the United States government. He must be impeached.” – Congressman Jamaal Bowman
Christina Harvey, executive director of Stand Up America, said in a statement that “if Clarence Thomas had any shame, he would resign immediately.”
“But he doesn’t,” Harvey continued, “so Congress must act immediately to pass a code of ethics for the Supreme Court that would require justices to recuse themselves in cases where they have an actual or apparent conflict of interest.”
The latest revelations from The Post add to the newspaper’s previous reporting about Ginni Thomas’ messages to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Arizona Republicans in the wake of Trump’s election loss.
“Ginni Thomas didn’t just push Mark Meadows to overturn the election or urge lawmakers in Arizona to ignore the popular vote,” tweeted the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “She also pushed Wisconsin lawmakers to ignore Biden’s victory in the state.”
“Despite all this, she’s still on a federal board,” the group added, referring to Thomas’ spot on the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board. Trump appointed her to a five-year term on the board in May 2020.
Thomas’ actions in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential contest have drawn the scrutiny of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol, an attack fueled by Trump’s lies about the presidential election.
The Post reported that the House panel “asked Thomas to sit for a voluntary interview in June.”
“The committee also sought a broad range of documents from her, including any related to plans to overturn the election and all communications with members of Congress and their staff and Justice Department employees,” the Post noted. “At the time, Thomas indicated she would comply. ‘I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them,’ Thomas told the Daily Caller, her former employer.”
“Less than two weeks later, on June 28, Paoletta told the committee that while Thomas remained willing to sit for an interview, he did not believe there was ‘sufficient basis’ for her to do so,” The Post added.
The House committee is expected to kick off a new series of hearings on the January 6 attack this month.