In the wake of a newly published New York Times story looking at the political connections between Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, the conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, some commentators on social media are calling for an investigation of the court’s longest-serving justice.
Others are saying he should already be impeached or forced to resign.
The New York Times
story details how Ginni Thomas has stood by her husband’s side since his appointment to the court in 1991 — to the point of asking Anita Hill, the woman who came forward and accused Clarence Thomas of sexual misconduct and put his nomination in jeopardy, to apologize.
But perhaps more significantly, it details how Ginni Thomas has risen through the conservative ranks and was a key figure in the movement to keep Donald Trump in the White House despite his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, over claims, including those by Trump, that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud — claims that election-tracking groups and state election bodies have disputed and the Supreme Court rejected.
The Times story points to how Ginni Thomas gained access to Trump in part through her husband. And it raises the question of how Clarence Thomas can be impartial as a jurist with his wife, whom he has described as an ideological partner, being so active politically. While Thomas is considered a key power center of the court’s conservative bloc, the Times nevertheless notes that justices “do not want to be perceived as partisan.”
The Times story also notes that the “spectacle of a Supreme Court justice’s spouse taking to Facebook
to champion the attempt of a defeated president to stay in power, as Ginni Thomas did on the morning of Jan. 6, crossed a line for several people in the Thomases’ circle.”
All this has already sparked much discussion — and those calls for an investigation of the well-connected couple.
And, yes, some are calling for the justice to be impeached or forced to resign.
The Times story was a hot topic on the ABC show “The View.” Sunny Hostin, a co-host, said that Clarence Thomas is “slicing it pretty thin” in not recusing himself from Supreme Court cases that may touch upon political issues with which his wife has ties.
Other political and legal commentators have also spoken out. “That Clarence Thomas has made no effort to recuse himself from cases in which his wife has an interest is profoundly unethical,” wrote Jill Filipovic on CNN.com.
The Times story noted that Ginni Thomas has said she and her husband operate in “separate professional lanes.” Neither Ginni nor Clarence Thomas spoke with the Times for the piece. Nor did they respond to requests for comment from MarketWatch.
The Times reported that Ginni Thomas commented on a private Facebook group for her high-school classmates in response to the fact some may have been contacted for the story. She said the reporter “seems to have been told to write a hit piece.” (Two reporters, Danny Hakim and Jo Becker, wrote the story, which is already online and is scheduled to appear in print this Sunday, as the cover piece of the newspaper’s magazine.)
A New York Times spokesperson said the publication stood by its reporting and pointed to a statement from the story itself that explained the process behind the piece: “This article draws on hours of recordings and internal documents from groups affiliated with the Thomases; dozens of interviews with the Thomases’ classmates, friends, colleagues and critics, as well as more than a dozen Trump White House aides and supporters and some of Justice Thomas’s former clerks; and an archive of Council for National Policy videos and internal documents provided by an academic researcher in Australia.”
The Times isn’t the first publication to delve into the political ties between Clarence and Ginni Thomas, however. As recently as last month, The New Yorker magazine reported on the couple with a story that asked, “Is Ginni Thomas a threat to the Supreme Court?” The Washington Post also looked at Ginni Thomas’s involvement in the election advocacy for Trump.