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The future of the second Black person to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court remains unclear as calls for Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from some cases have morphed into full blown threats of impeachment.
On Thursday, CBS News and the Washington Post released a joint report revealing text messages Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni sent to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging him to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The communications took place over a course of weeks that led up to the Jan 6. attack on the U.S. Capitol and at a time when Trump was seeking to bring his election lawsuit to the Supreme Court, where Justice Clarence Thomas sits.
In one message, Ginni Thomas urged Meadows to “release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down,” according to the Post.
While none of the text messages mentioned the Court or Justice Thomas by name, Ginni herself has admitted to attending the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally.
Meanwhile, Justice Clarence Thomas was the only Justice to side with Trump in an 8-1 decision when Trump sought to withhold documents from the Jan. 6 committee investigating the 2020 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol. The documents Trump tried to hide showed his intentions to seize voting machines across the nation.
Somes Dems want Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from certain cases
The optics have raised concerns of a conflict of interest on the nation’s highest Court. Democrats swiftly condemned the pair’s actions.
“Why didn’t Justice Thomas recuse himself in the Trump records case in light of Ginni Thomas’ apparent active involvement? The nation deserves an explanation & the Supreme Court needs a Code of Ethics,” Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal (D), an influential member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted on Friday.
“No question that recusal by Justice Thomas is absolutely essential going forward in any case involving the January 6 committee’s investigation & the 2024 presidential election if Trump runs again,” he added.
Democratic senators said Justice Clarence Thomas crossed a line by not recusing himself from related cases and called on their colleagues to adopt legislation that would require Supreme Court Justices to follow the Codes of Conduct that other federal judges must follow, which prohibit judges from acting improperly or even “the appearance of impropriety.”
Currently, Justices can decide for themselves which cases to recuse themselves from, the Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, Republican leaders have no problem with Justice Clarence Thomas’ actions, despite spending days berating Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“Justice Thomas is a great American and an outstanding Justice. I have total confidence in his brilliance and impartiality in every aspect of the work of the Court,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said in a statement.
Rep. Ilhan Omar says Justice Thomas should be impeached
So far, Justice Clarence Thomas, who was discharged on Friday from a hospital after experiencing “flu-like symptoms,” has refused to recuse himself or resign. The Supreme Court spokesperson has refused to provide any further details to media outlets.
The silence has caused some groups to demand even more than recusal—full impeachment of a sitting Supreme Court justice.
Sarah Lipton-Lube is executive director of the Take Back the Court Action Fund.
“Given that Justice Thomas has already made known he won’t recuse himself from cases related to his wife’s right-wing activism, and the damning evidence of his wife’s involvement in this attack on our democracy, Thomas is clearly unfit to serve on the nation’s highest court,” Lipton-Lubet said in a statement on Thursday night.
“Clarence Thomas must immediately resign from his seat on the Supreme Court.”
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), a progressive member of “the Squad,” also called for Justice Thomas to face impeachment.
The second Black Supreme Court Justice ever to reach the Supreme Court is being threatened with impeachment by the first Black woman to ever represent her state of Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Ginni Thomas has denied any conflicts of interest.
“Like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America, but we have our own separate careers, and our own ideas and opinions too,” Thomas said in a March 14 interview with the right-wing Washington Free Beacon.
“Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work,” she added.
There has only been one impeachment of a Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. Associate Justice Samuel Chase was impeached in 1805, according to Supreme Court records. Yet, the Senate failed to convict him, and he ultimately served until 1811.