During a speech on the Senate floor on March 30, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decried Democrats’ attacks against Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, over texts she sent on Jan. 6, 2021.
Ginni Thomas sent texts to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally encouraging its goal of postponing the House certification of election results over ongoing election fraud controversies.
In the texts, Thomas made clear that she agreed that there were real concerns over election fraud, and indicated that she supported the effort to protest the House’s certification of the results.
Democrat lawmakers, who have described the Jan. 6 rally as a full-fledged “insurrection” bent on overturning the U.S. government, have gathered around the issue as a political rallying cry ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
The upcoming midterms are expected to heavily favor Republicans, and Democrats have demanded that Thomas recuse himself from any future Supreme Court cases involving election fraud.
In his remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell called the issue “a political hit, part of liberals’ years-long quest to delegitimize the court.”
The desired result of this effort, McConnell alleged, is to “nullify the presence of Justice Clarence Thomas on the court.”
“The far left wants another crack at what they tried and failed to do way back in 1991,” McConnell said, referencing the Supreme Court confirmation hearings in which then-Sen. Joe Biden and other Democrats tried to portray Thomas as a sexual predator. “Washington Democrats are now trying to bully this exemplary judge of 30-plus years out of an entire legal subject or off the court altogether.”
The outrage, McConnell added, “is not in earnest,” but is simply another stunt to bolster Democrats’ political prospects.
The hope of forcing conservative justices to recuse themselves from certain subject areas “isn’t new—it’s a tired old tactic,” McConnell said, referencing similar efforts to force Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to recuse themselves from certain areas of law.
Each of these instances, McConnell said, were “based on spurious accusations about fake ethical problems or partiality. This new pressure campaign is just a continuation of this well-worn pattern.”
The justice and the court, McConnell added, “should feel free to completely ignore all this.”
Democrats have heavily criticized the texts as a conflict of interest and have cast aspersions on Justice Thomas’s judicial ethics.
“Justice Thomas must recuse himself from any and all cases related to the insurrection and 2020 election,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), leader of the House Progressive Caucus. “It is unethical to rule on any case that his wife has a direct stake in. It’s time to raise the ethical standards of our Supreme Court.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter, “The wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice tried to get the President’s Chief of Staff to overturn the results of a legitimate election. At the bare minimum, Clarence Thomas must recuse himself from any cases involving January 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a tweet that she’s “been fighting for legislation to set enforceable ethics rules in the Supreme Court for years. Conflicts of interest undermine public confidence and self-policing isn’t working. We need rules in place and Justice Thomas needs to answer on his apparent ethics breach.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also weighed in on Twitter.
“The Supreme Court faces a legitimacy crisis deepened & widened by shocking revelations about Ginni Thomas’ texts,” Blumenthal wrote. “Congress should impose a Code of Ethics on this court, the only federal court without one. Stop the downward slide & shredding of credibility & trust.”
Republicans, on the other hand, have flocked to Thomas’ defense.
“God bless Justice Thomas,” said Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). “I thank God for him and keep him in my prayers.”
In response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) calling for Thomas to resign from the Supreme Court, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) posted a Twitter thread lambasting Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic lawmakers.
Greene wrote that “while you think tweeting stupid lies about Clarence Thomas is what real Americans think Congress should be focused on, you actually show the entire world how amazingly out of touch you really are. Congress should get it’s [sic] act together and fix this broken nation.”
In a statement to The Epoch Times, a legal expert also defended Ginni Thomas’ texts, saying that they were not part of an effort to overturn the 2020 election.
“Ginni Thomas is not trying to overturn the elections,” attorney Joseph McBride told The Epoch Times. “She is a private citizen, and as such, she is able to speak her mind on any issue. She is entitled to believe whatever she wants to believe on any issue, be it political, spiritual, or sports.”
Democrats’ calls for Thomas’ recusal, impeachment, and even resignation, come after he was admitted to the hospital March 18 with flu-like symptoms and treated for an infection. He was released March 25.
Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows could not be immediately reached for comment.