Clarence Thomas and Ginni Thomas laugh while seated in a crowd.

No One Believes Clarence Thomas or the Supreme Court Could Be ‘Apolitical’ While Ginni Thomas Was Out Fighting for Trump

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has spent the last decade or so spiraling from “conservative activist” to full-blown far-right conspiracy theorist and MAGA spokesperson.

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In recent years, she’s used her Facebook account to share baseless claims and conspiracies about undocumented immigrants, election fraud, school shooting survivors, and much more. In 2018, the Washington Post said her behavior on Facebook resembled that of “your slightly paranoid neighbor who stockpiles bullets and astronaut food.” They weren’t wrong.

Thomas also recently revealed in an interview with the right-with Washington Times that she attended the January 6 rally in Washington D.C., though she claims to have left before the Capitol riot began. (There was a pernicious rumor on social media that she had paid to send busloads of would-be insurrectionists to the rally and subsequent riot, though no proof of that has ever actually been provided as far as I can tell.)

Now a slew of text messages between Thomas and Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows have been obtained by CBS News and The Washington Post, revealing just how hard Thomas tried to get Meadows to help overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Thomas and Meadows exchanged 29 texts between November 2020 and January 2021, with the majority of them coming from Thomas.

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!! …You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice,” she wrote on November 10, a week after the election, when pretty much every outlet had already called it for Joe Biden. “The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

Other texts describe Thomas’ attempts to reach other Trump allies, including “Jared”—presumably Jared Kushner—to coordinate efforts to overturn the election results.

In their joint report, veteran journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa explain why the texts are disturbing:

The messages, which do not directly reference Justice Thomas or the Supreme Court, show for the first time how Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election results — and how receptive and grateful Meadows said he was to receive her advice. Among Thomas’s stated goals in the messages was for lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the election, to be “the lead and the face” of Trump’s legal team.

As they note, the texts don’t explicitly mention Clarence Thomas, and the couple seems to have generally tried to keep a barrier between her “activism” and his work on the Supreme Court, even if that barrier was just refraining form talking about things publicly. One text from Ginni Thomas did reference being bolstered by “a conversation with my best friend just now.” It’s not clear who she’s referring to but multiple outlets have noted that the two have referred to each other as their best friends on a number of occasions.

It’s also extremely clear that trying to keep up the appearance of professional distance doesn’t actually do much to eliminate conflicts of interest.

In an excellent piece in the New York Times, Jesse Wegman writes:

Now recall that in January, the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Trump’s request to block the release of White House records relating to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Mr. Meadows had submitted a brief in the case supporting Mr. Trump. The court’s ruling came as an unsigned order, with only one noted dissent: from Justice Thomas.

Perhaps Justice Thomas was not aware of his wife’s text-message campaign to Mr. Meadows at the time. But it sure makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

And that’s precisely the problem: We shouldn’t have to wonder. The Supreme Court is the most powerful judicial body in the country, and yet, as Alexander Hamilton reminded us, it has neither the sword nor the purse as a means to enforce its rulings. It depends instead on the American people’s acceptance of its legitimacy, which is why the justices must make every possible effort to appear fair, unbiased and beyond reproach.

I obviously don’t agree with Ginni Thomas’s politics but I’m also not going to say she shouldn’t be allowed to have a life of her own and make whatever truly batshit choices she wants just because of her husband’s position. I most definitely will say, however, that Clarence Thomas should have recused himself from many, many cases due to said batshittery over the years.

It is also very strange that we’re just hearing about these texts now from two reporters, rather than from the House subcommittee investigating January 6, which was the body to actually first obtain them. They sure seem relevant, so why have they not made them public, as they have with other texts they’ve gotten ahold of?

Clarence Thomas came up in the court at a time when Justices could at least pretend to be apolitical. That is no longer the case, and Thomas’ refusal to recuse himself from cases that clearly directly involve his wife’s advocacy is as clear an indication of why as, say, Brett Kavanaugh screaming about the Clintons or Amy Coney Barrett’s, you know, entire existence.

(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.