- Democratic lawmakers are urging Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from certain cases because of his wife’s political activism.
- “Justice Thomas is being held to a newly-invented standard that has no place in the law or in precedent,” Mark Paoletta, an attorney who worked on the confirmations of Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- Former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not recuse herself from cases her relatives had publicly commented on or to which her relatives were connected.
Congressional Democrats have urged Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from certain cases due to his wife’s political activism, raising questions about the political activities of other justices’ family members including those of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Thomas’s wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, reportedly sent text messages to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the days after the 2020 election which said “do not concede” and claimed Democrats were attempting a “heist” of the presidential election, according to a March 24 report by The Washington Post.
Clarence Thomas needs to be impeached https://t.co/ZuZbxkMaYs
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 25, 2022
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal sent a letter to the Supreme Court Monday requesting Justice Thomas recuse himself from all future cases involving Jan. 6 or efforts to overturn the 2020 election due to the text messages, according to The Washington Post, while Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar called for Thomas to be impeached.
“Justice Thomas is being held to a newly-invented standard that has no place in the law or in precedent,” Mark Paoletta, an attorney who worked on the confirmations of Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not recuse herself from cases the court considered regarding parties represented by the law firm at which her husband Martin worked. Martin Ginsburg served as counsel for Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, a law firm which brought cases before the Supreme Court including Lonnell Brewer v. Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc.
“If this standard were applied to Justice Ginsburg, who had a spouse that practiced law, she would have been required to recuse herself from many cases in which her husband’s law firm appeared. But she did not,” Paoletta added.
Harmeet Dhillon, president of the Republican National Lawyers Association, told the DCNF the attacks on Thomas created a recusal standard that could not reasonably be maintained.
“If these are the new rules, let’s require all justices to disclose all the private opinions of all their family members on all issues in the news, and see how that works out as a new recusal framework,” Dhillon said.
“The very idea is absurd, and it’s time to move on from this distraction and focus on making sure we have a Supreme Court with nine justices committed to upholding the laws of the land, and interpreting them wisely and fairly – as Justice Thomas has always done,” Dhillon told the DCNF.
In addition to ruling on cases her relatives had publicly opined on or were connected to through their legal work, Ginsburg publicly criticized then-candidate Donald Trump and later ruled against him in a related Supreme Court case.
“Ginsburg unethically attacked candidate Donald Trump in 2016, calling him a ‘faker,’ expressing concern about living in America if he were elected President and specifically criticizing him for not releasing his taxes,” Paoletta told the DCNF.
“This was perhaps the most unethical act of a Justice entering the political fray in modern times. To add insult to injury, Justice Ginsburg did not recuse herself from a case that came before the court in which President Trump was challenging a congressional subpoena to release his taxes. She voted against Trump’s position,” Paoletta added.
The Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots is likely to call Ginni Thomas for an interview regarding her text messages, according to The New York Times.
“Liberals don’t like the fact that [Thomas] is black and won’t follow their agenda, so they invent flimsy controversies to discredit him for thinking for himself,” Carrie Severino, president of Judicial Crisis Network, said in a statement to the DCNF.
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