Justice Clarence Thomas has openly flouted the federal law that requires all federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, to recuse themselves from cases in which they cannot be impartial: He has participated in a case in which his wife, Ginni, undeniably has an interest. For a long time, it has felt like there is nothing to be done about this—conventional wisdom says that short of impeachment, Supreme Court justices are immune from penalties for their misconduct. But that is wrong.
Thomas’ eight colleagues have the tools to protect the court’s integrity: They can publicly censure him, bar him from being the decisive vote in cases in which he should have recused, and take away his power to author majority opinions. Whether they will take action is a different story, which may explain why the court’s reputation is at a historic low.
But Thomas, who has long played fast and loose with recusal laws, has finally gone too far. The issue came to a head last month, when the Supreme Court refused to block the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol from obtaining Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward’s phone records. In January 2021, Ward had orchestrated an alternative slate of electors (which included herself) in an effort to subvert the election of Joe Biden as president. Thomas participated in the court’s decision, casting a dissenting vote, even though his wife was intimately involved in these events.
Chances are you heard nothing about this. That’s because the decision was part of the court’s “shadow docket”—orders issued without hearing or written decision—and so it garnered little public attention.
But it should have, because Thomas’ participation in the case was a flagrant violation of the federal law requiring recusal from cases in which it is “known by the judge” that his spouse “ha[s] an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome.” His vote also transgressed that statute’s broader provision requiring disqualification in “any proceeding in which [a judge’s] impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
Ginni Thomas’ connection to the case is not in question. She has actively tried to overturn Biden’s election in Arizona and other states. In December 2020, Ginni Thomas sent letters to 29 Arizona lawmakers urging them to “fight back against fraud” and select a “clean slate of Electors” after Biden won the election. She also sent numerous text messages to President Trump’s chief of staff demanding he overturn the election, and attended the rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, though she left before the attack on the Capitol. This past September, the Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed and interviewed Ginni Thomas, and she repeated then her unfounded belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Without question, Ginni Thomas has an “interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome” of the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena of Ward’s phone records. Also, without question, Justice Thomas knew it when he cast his dissenting vote to bar disclosure.
The eight other justices know it, too. Yet so far, they have done nothing about a fellow justice’s blatant violation of a federal law designed to protect the integrity of the court on which they serve. Understandably, the justices are reluctant to police their colleagues. But Justice Thomas’ extraordinary conduct calls for an extraordinary response.
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Read Amanda’s full article at the link.
Failure of one of America’s (supposedly) “top judges” to comply with basic ethical and legal rules undermines democracy! That’s doubly true when the litigation at issue involves an ex-President who has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t believe the rules apply to him. That’s the same ex-Pres who recently treasonously claimed that the Constitution should be set aside because he lost the 2020 election by more than 7 million votes and can’t accept that truth!
#CLARENCE #THOMAS #SUPREME #ETHICAL #NIGHTMARE #Colleagues #Stop #Giving #Pass #Rules #immigrationcourtside.com