House Democrats are urging Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any decisions related to former President Donald Trump’s place on Colorado state primary ballots — a case the high court could soon take up.
“Your impartiality is reasonably questioned by substantial numbers of fair-minded members of the public,” a group of eight lawmakers told Thomas in a three-page letter Thursday.
Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled last month that Trump could not legally appear on state primary ballots due to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week. At least four of the nine justices must agree for the case to be added to the court’s docket.
The group of voters who sued to keep Trump off the ballot also asked the high court to weigh in, as did the Colorado Republican Party.
Led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), the ranking member of the House judiciary committee’s subcommittee on the federal courts, the House lawmakers reminded Thomas about the Supreme Court’s new code of conduct, which was agreed upon by the justices amid public pressure to assure their impartiality — in large part due to a string of alarming reports about Thomas’ own conduct.
The two-month-old code specifically states that justices should disqualify themselves in situations where their spouse has “a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding.”
Thomas’ wife, conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, has campaigned fervently to keep Trump in office by pushing disproven claims about election fraud.
Her for-profit consultancy firm “is clearly aligned with Mr. Trump’s interests,” the House Democrats wrote.
Ginni Thomas even helped plan and attended Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, rally before the crowd turned their sights on the U.S. Capitol. It was this violent event that the Colorado Supreme Court deemed an insurrection, disqualifying Trump from appearing on the ballot.
“It is unthinkable that you could be impartial in deciding whether an event your wife personally organized qualifies as an ‘insurrection’ that would prevent someone from holding the office of President,” the lawmakers wrote Thursday.
“You have a financial stake in the outcome of this case, which disqualifies you from any involvement in it,” they told Thomas.
Last month, congressional Democrats similarly urged the justice to recuse himself from decisions involving Trump’s claim of immunity from federal prosecution.
Thomas has given no indication he would do so. The Supreme Court denied a request from federal prosecutors to settle Trump’s immunity argument extra quickly, but the order did not attach names to the decision.
On social media, Johnson got right to the point.
“I’ll say it once again,” he wrote on the platform formerly known as Twitter. “If SCOTUS wants to show the American people that it’s two-month-old Code of Conduct is worth more than the paper it is written on, Thomas must do the honorable thing and RECUSE himself ― immunity & ballot cases.”
The Stakes Have Never Been Higher