Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was released from a hospital today after spending the last week being treated for what a spokesperson has called an “infection.” As CNN reports, official sources have been oddly evasive about Thomas’s condition:
Thomas, 73, entered Sibley Memorial Hospital last Friday after experiencing flu-like symptoms.
The court’s public information officer did not say anything about Thomas’ condition when he was released and declined to offer any more details on his stay in the hospital…
…The court announced Thomas’ hospitalization on Sunday and declined repeated requests for updates on his health since then.
It had been originally suggested that Thomas would be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, but that day came and went with spokespeople for the Supreme Court declining to answer any questions from reporters.
The health of Thomas has been overshadowed in recent days by revelations that his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, was extremely and remarkably persistent in trying to convince Trump administration officials to act more aggressively to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The big question now is this: Did her actions also influence her husband?
As Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported on Thursday for The Washington Post:
Virginia Thomas repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a series of urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.
The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results…
…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.
Obviously we now need to know to what degree that Clarence Thomas may agree with his wife about the 2020 election results. When the Supreme Court rejected Donald Trump’s request in January to block the release of Presidential records, Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenting voice on the opinion. Thomas provided no explanation as to why he was siding with Trump on the matter.
Two months ago, the Supreme Court rejected Donald Trump’s request to withhold White House documents concerning the 1/6 attack, effectively green-lighting their release to the Jan. 6 committee.
Only one justice dissented. pic.twitter.com/JtX1WmkAtb
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 24, 2022
That decision in January now looks much different in the wake of reports that Ginni Thomas was incredibly active in trying to keep Trump in the White House despite his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in 2020. At the very least, legal scholars say that Clarence Thomas must now recuse himself from any discussions related to the 2020 election.
But others are calling for more drastic steps. As Jesse Wegman writes for The New York Times:
Bench memo to the justice: You know what jeopardizes public faith in legal institutions? Refusing to recuse yourself from numerous high-profile cases in which your wife has been personally and sometimes financially entangled, as The New Yorker reported in January. Especially when you have emphasized that you and she are melded “into one being.” Or when you have, as The Times Magazine reported last month, appeared together with her for years “at highly political events hosted by advocates hoping to sway the court.”
Ms. Thomas’s efforts, and her husband’s refusal to respond appropriately, have been haunting the court for years, but this latest conflagration shouldn’t be a close call. “The texts are the narrowest way of looking at this,” Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor and one of the nation’s foremost legal-ethics experts, told me. “She signed up for Stop the Steal. She was part of the team, and that team had an interest in how the court would rule. That’s all I need to know.” [Pols emphasis] He said he has over the years resisted calling for Justice Thomas’s recusal based on his wife’s actions, “but they’ve really abused that tolerance.”
Wegman, a member of the Times editorial board, concludes by calling on Thomas to resign from the Supreme Court:
Justice Thomas has shown himself unwilling or unable to protect what remains of the court’s reputation from the appearance of extreme bias he and his wife have created. He would do the country a service by stepping down and making room for someone who won’t have that problem. [Pols emphasis]
This is not the first time that Ginni Thomas has inserted herself into an issue that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, but it is certainly the most serious in terms of the impact it could have on the direction of the entire country. The opinions of Ginni Thomas also point to another disturbing reality in the extent to which she apparently subscribes to some of the weirdest of the QAnon conspiracy theories.
For example, Ginni Thomas ranted to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that the “Biden crime family” would soon be arrested and shipped off to Guantánamo Bay for “ballot fraud.” Will Sommer of The Daily Beast outlined other Qanon connections in a recent Twitter thread, concluding with this: “Ginni Thomas is dropping deep QAnon lore and may be, as they say on @QanonAnonymous, “red-pilled to the gills.”
In regularly repeating QAnon nonsense, Ginni Thomas sounds very much like Colorado Republicans such as U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks, Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, and GOP Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters.
It is downright chilling to see the degree to which this radicalization embraced by rank-and-file Republicans well before the 2020 election has infected the highest levels of the GOP elite.
Republicans in Colorado who are campaigning for higher office — and asking Coloradans of all political stripes to support them in 2022 — now have new questions that demand answers. Should Clarence Thomas resign from the Supreme Court? Are they at all concerned about the actions of Ginni Thomas? Are they willing to say anything about these revelations, or are they too terrified to upset the red-pilled Republican base in Colorado?
Some Republican politicians are too far gone down the rabbit hole to emerge with a rational thought now. Hanks, for example, has flat-out stated that Donald Trump won the 2020 Presidential election. We don’t even need to speculate about Tina Peters. But others, such as gubernatorial hopeful
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl can no longer try to shrug off questions about the “Big Lie.” Colorado voters need to know if 2022 candidates agree with Ginni Thomas, and media outlets need to keep asking the question for as long as it takes to get a coherent answer.
Virginia Thomas, the wife of a Supreme Court Justice, believed so thoroughly in the “Big Lie” and other Qanon conspiracies that she went to great lengths to overturn the will of American voters and dismantle our democracy. There can be no more fence-sitting on this issue. Either you agree with Ginni Thomas, or you don’t.
One line. Two sides. Which is it?