As the media and the nation rightly focuses on the nominating process of jurist Ketanji Brown Jackson to the highest court in the land, the illness of sitting Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice Clarence Thomas has generated media attention, albeit on a smaller scale.
Thomas was briefly hospitalized for almost a week after displaying what were called “flu-like symptoms.” He was treated with intravenous antibiotics before his release on March 25. The specific cause of the infection was not revealed, but Supreme Court spokespersons stated it was not COVID-19 related.
Thomas’ malady sparked interest from elements within the leftist end of the political spectrum, much of it lacking compassion, if not outright negative. Among them were New York Times best-selling novelist Ellen Hopkins.
She expressed her sentiments openly in a tweet where she freely admitted that she “…wouldn’t mind if his health forced him into retirement.”
Hopkins deleted the entry in the wake of right-wing criticism, then backed up her views while insisting they weren’t racially motivated.
“I’m free to think Clarence Thomas doesn’t belong on the SCOTUS. Has zero to do with color and everything to do with lack of integrity,” she wrote.
President George H.W. Bush appointed Thomas to his post in 1991, making him the longest serving justice, and only Black person currently on the bench.
Complicity in an insurrection?
“Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.”
—Virginia “Ginni” Thomas in a Nov. 19 text message to President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Meanwhile, Thomas’ wife Virginia or “Ginni,” an attorney in her own right, has come under fire for conservative activism that impedes her husband’s position on SCOTUS.
Shortly after Joe Biden was declared the victor in the Nov. 2020 Presidential Election, she initiated a series of texts with Mark Meadows, chief of staff for outgoing office holder Donald J. Trump. These messages contained gossip and innuendo promoting right-wing extremist theories as well as allegations of ballot fraud.
In short, Ginni Thomas is at the forefront of MAGA supporters who maintain that the election was rigged, and remains intent on helping Trump overturn the defeat at the hands of unscrupulous Democrats in an “obvious fraud.”
Her other political associations include Thomas’ ownership of Liberty Consulting Inc., a firm that engages in political lobbying for conservative causes, and the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, which earned her an estimated $686,589 between 2003 and 2007.
Ms. Thomas has been linked to the far-right “Tea Party” movement as well as the Jan. 6 protests that evolved into the storming of the U.S. Capitol building. She eventually admitted attendance at the “Stop the Steal” rally that morning, but insists she left before the afternoon turmoil that captivated the world, resulting in several deaths and scores of injuries in its wake.
Conflict of Interest?
“The majority knows Biden and the left is attempting the greatest heist of our History.”
—Virginia Thomas in a
Nov. 10 text to Mark Meadows.
All this had been enough to compel House of Representative investigators to launch a formal inquiry into the events surrounding the Capitol assault and communications between Ms. Thomas and the hierarchy of the Republican Right.
As the passage of time widens since the election and the residual mischief of Jan. 6, it is increasingly unlikely that Trump will be reinstated into the Oval Office, but the machinery for exploration into interlinking events is in place. These include parallel probes by the House and the Department of Justice.
By March 28, lawmakers including U.S. Senators Elizabeth A. Warren (D-MA) and Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) made their concerns concrete with a letter to Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
Some 24 Democrats from the House and Senate signed the manuscript, which cited “…Ms. Thomas’ efforts to overturn the election and her specific communications with White House officials about doing so.”
In short, the letter suggested Justice Thomas be obligated to recuse himself from any future legal proceedings related to the recent Presidential Election, and matters peripheral to the Jan. 6 proceedings. (See the letter in its entirety at https://tinyurl.com/nhhh2bnd)
The end result of these queries is uncertain, but impartial observers are raising concerns about Justice Thomas’ impartiality-once he is healthy enough to resume his duties.
Ginni Thomas is not officially employed by the government, and thus has no direct impact on issues of legislation (although she undoubtedly wields considerable influence on the political process). Yet the possibility of her husband using his official position to exploit or further the interests of his wife remains a very real prospect in the foreseeable future.