Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, said she attended the ‘Stop-the-Steal’ rally before the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol

Thomas said she was at the rally for a short time, got cold, and went home before Trump took the stage at noon that day.

“I was disappointed and frustrated that there was violence following a peaceful rally by Trump supporters on the Ellipse on January 6,” the conservative activist told the publication. “There are important and legitimate substantive questions about the achievement of goals such as electoral integrity, racial equality and political accountability that a democratic system like ours needs in order to be able to rationally discuss and debate the political place. I’m afraid we’re losing that ability.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In February 2021, Thomas apologized to her husband’s former lawyers after a rift developed between them over his campaign defense of Trump and his endorsement of the Jan. 6 rally that led to violence. and death at the Capitol.

The siege by pro-Trump mobs trying to prevent confirmation of Biden’s Electoral College victory left the Capitol vandalized and resulted in the deaths of five people and the injury of 140 law enforcement personnel.

“I owe you all an apology. I probably imposed my lifelong passions on you,” Thomas wrote to a private Thomas Clerk World mailing list of her husband’s staff during his three decades on the bench.

As an outspoken conservative activist, Ginni Thomas has drawn attention to her husband’s work on the court and his impartiality, most recently in connection with the Jan. 6 attack and the House Select Committee charged with investigating the riot.

While Ginni Thomas’ activism has repeatedly overlapped with cases that were decided by her husband, her connection to the rally that preceded the insurgency has reignited fury among her critics, who say he exemplifies a gaping hole in court rules: Justices basically decide for themselves if they have a conflict of interest.

Last December, Ginni Thomas was among a group of conservative leaders who signed a letter criticizing the work of the bipartisan House committee as “openly partisan political persecution.” The following month, the Supreme Court ruled on Trump’s request to deny the committee White House records that Biden had ordered released. Instead of recusing himself from the case, Clarence Thomas was the only judge to say he would grant Trump’s request.

In the interview, Ginni Thomas insisted that her job is separate from her husband’s.

“Like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles and aspirations for America,” Ginni Thomas said. “But we have our own distinct careers, as well as our own ideas and opinions. Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work.

Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, a nonpartisan advocacy group that advocates for Supreme Court reforms, said Ginni Thomas’ attendance at the rally should have been excuse enough for Clarence Thomas to step down. House Committee matter.

Justice’s failure to do so, Roth said, is another example of how Supreme Court justices misfollow the standard of recusal.

While the Supreme Court is supposed to operate in accordance with the regulations guiding all federal judges, including the requirement that a judge “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned”, there is no no procedure to enforce this standard. Each judge can decide whether or not to recuse, and there is no way to appeal a Supreme Court member’s failure to do so.

“Because of his participation in that rally, which then led to the Capitol breach, which then led to the Jan. 6 committee. … This means that you, as a judge, your impartiality could still reasonably be questioned,” Roth said.

Roth said it’s not just Clarence Thomas who fails to properly meet the recusal standard, noting as examples that Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil M. Gorsuch failed to recuse themselves when they handled cases involving their book publisher, Penguin Random House. . But Thomas’ case, Roth said, is different because of the significance of the Jan. 6 riot in American history.

“There should be a recusal,” Roth said of Thomas’ case. “But again, I’m kind of on the side where there should be more recusals… There’s a rigorous standard that exists that just isn’t being followed and I think that’s a shame and hurts to the integrity of the institution. .”


Washington

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