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 December 19, 2023

Democrats want Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases involving Donald Trump

House Democrats are pressuring Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases involving former President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported. The former president is seeking immunity in a case that will come to the high court over his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.  

Thomas's wife, Virginia "Ginny" Thomas, had been part of the initial conversation about the validity of the election results in 2020. Democrats are seizing this to claim the justice would not have the ability to remain impartial in Trump's case.

This seems to be the latest attempt to weaponize the code of conduct the Supreme Court recently adopted. Thomas and the rest of the justices agreed to the code last month by signing onto the 14-page pledge.

Now, that pledge could be used against Clarence Thomas and add to Trump's legal woes by extension. Eight House Democrats signed onto a letter demanding the justice recuse himself from Trump's case which would weaken the majority pf support from the justices.

The lawmakers assert that Ginny Thomas's involvement in the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, 2021, is enough to disqualify her husband. Trump's case, and Democrats' whole 2024 election strategy, hinges on the idea that the protest, which turned into a riot, was an insurrection.

Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee’s courts subcommittee, connected those dots. In the Dec. 15 letter, the lawmakers assume the justice's wife's activities in that time "raise serious questions" about his "ability to be or even to appear impartial in any cases before the Supreme Court involving the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection."

The letter was signed by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, Jamie B. Raskin of Maryland, Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas, Dan Goldman of New York, Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia, and Jasmine Crockett of Texas. They assert that Clarence Thomas's next move will test the strength of the code of conduct.

"If you want to show the American people that the Supreme Court’s recent Code of Conduct is worth more than the paper it is written on, you must do the honorable thing and recuse yourself from any decisions in the case of United States v. Trump," the letter stated. Other Democratic lawmakers have similarly urged Clarence Thomas to step away from Trump's cases.

"There are so many unanswered questions about the relationship of the justice and his family with the Trump administration that I think in the interests of justice, he should recuse himself," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin said. There has been no word from Clarence Thomas's office on the matter, however.

While a code of conduct makes sense for those in high places, the origin story of the Supreme Court's is beginning to look more like a setup for exactly this type of scenario. The code emerged after a focus on Justice Thomas.

He had close relationships with Republican mega-donors and sometimes enjoyed perks as part of those social interactions. In particular, longtime friend and judicial activist Harlan Crow was generous to Clarence Thomas and his family with gifts, vacations, and even private school tuition.

Because these were benefits obtained through a close social relationship, Clarence Thomas didn't disclose them. This set off calls for a code of conduct, which has now come full circle as the justice is expected to step down from what will arguably be one of the most important cases in American election history.

It doesn't matter that the case against Trump rests on an exaggeration, if not a complete lie, that Jan. 6 was an attempt to overthrow the government. Democrats have this new tool in their arsenal to target one of the justices sure to be friendly to Trump.

Democrats have expertly weaseled their way into several scenarios that will ensure Trump is guilty of something and thus disqualified from the presidential race. Whether Clarence Thomas recuses himself or not, they now have more ammunition to delegitimize any favorable opinion for Trump in this case and prop up President Joe Biden's reelection bid.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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