Prominent Democrats are calling on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to withdraw from any future presidential election-related case after a string of bombshell text message reports sent by his wife Ginni Thomas to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows , and urged him to overturn the 2020 election.
Ms. Thomas, a longtime Conservative activist whose work often overlaps with court affairs her husband serves on, has long been a lightning rod for criticism from Democrats, who charge that her work endangers the court’s reputation by overruling its court decisions impaired.
Both Mr and Ms Thomas have dismissed those criticisms and say they keep their professional lives separate, but reports that Ms Thomas was actively involved in overturning the election have brought renewed focus to his work, including his only dissent in a 2021 case prompted former President Donald Trump to keep the White House records out of the hands of the Jan. 6 House Special Committee.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said on ABC News this week that Mr Thomas should be barred from future election cases.
“This is a textbook case to remove him, to keep him from making those decisions… This is where the entire integrity of the court is at stake,” she said.
Her colleague on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cory Booker of New Jersey, told NBC’s Chuck Todd in Meet The Press that Mr Thomas should “clearly” withdraw from future election cases “given his wife Ginni Thomas’s ‘Stop the Steal’ texts sent by the uprising of January 6”.
Mr Booker noted that Judge Elena Kagan had resigned more than 20 times after joining the court because of her previous role as Attorney General.
“She understood that even the appearance of impropriety would delegitimize the court. and the court needs that legitimacy,” he said, adding that the court should abstain from “common sense” ethics rules and the “Thomas affair” should give Congress reason to mandate the same rules for Supreme Court justices .
Another Democratic senator, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, told CBS News that Mr. Thomas should consider appearing “voluntarily” before Congress to resolve questions about his wife’s text exchange with Mr. Meadows.
Even a Republican senator, Rob Portman of Ohio, said Mr Thomas “might consider” withdrawing in future cases involving the Jan. 6 attack.
“I don’t think what your spouse is saying should be dismissing you … whether in the legislature or in the judiciary — that would set a new precedent,” he said. “But I think if a case comes up… that’s spot on… in terms of likely records and whether they should be made available, that might be an issue where he would think about it.”
But even though his wife’s text messages were in the hands of the Jan. 6 House selection committee, one of its members — Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger — said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation that the committee had not yet decided whether Ms Thomas would be called as a witness before the panel, but promised the committee would “review the evidence” before making a decision.
“We will take a coordinated and logical approach to investigating the Thomas texts. We want to make sure we are guided by facts. Our job is to find the answers for the American people,” he said.