On Capitol Hill, text messages between Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows encouraging attempts to overturn the 2020 election have been scrutinised, as lawmakers call for the justice to recuse himself from election-related cases—or resign—and advocacy groups call for congressional hearings on the court’s ethical practises.
Reports on Thursday that Ginni Thomas urged Meadows to try to reverse the election drew considerable condemnation from Democratic lawmakers, especially since Thomas was the lone dissenter in a case about whether papers should be disclosed to the House January 6 committee.
Meadows passed the text messages on to the House January 6 Committee, which could still receive more information on Ginni Thomas’ post-election activity. According to CBS News, legislators on the committee have discussed the prospect of calling her to come before the committee and, if necessary, subpoenaing her.
The justice is unlikely to quit on his own, but if enough pressure builds in Congress, he might be impeached and removed from office. The process for impeachment for justices is the same as for presidents—he’d face impeachment hearings in the House before the Senate decides whether or not to convict him—but his removal remains a long shot.
There is unlikely to be enough support in the Senate to convict him—two-thirds of senators would have to vote in favor—and only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached, Justice Samuel Chase in 1804. He was not found guilty by the Senate.
Ginni Thomas told the Washington Free Beacon in a recent interview that she and her husband “have our own independent careers and our own beliefs and opinions, too.” Clarence doesn’t talk to me about his work, and I don’t include him in mine.”
The 29 text messages revealed by the January 6 committee—21 of which were sent by Ginni Thomas, mostly in November 2020—show the justice’s wife urging him to “create a plan” and “Help This Great President hold firm, Mark!!!” to overturn Meadows’ election.
“Do not give in. On November 4, Thomas contacted Meadows, encouraging her to “unleash the Kraken and save us from the left dragging America down,” a reference to far-right attorney Sidney Powell’s failed post-election legal strategy.
The text exchanges, first revealed by the Washington Post and CBS News on Thursday, occurred as Clarence Thomas’ wife’s political activities as a right-wing activist were already under examination. While Ginni Thomas’ conservative advocacy has long been known, recent articles in the New Yorker and New York Times have increased the spotlight on her, especially as the 6–3 conservative Supreme Court tackles more politicised matters like abortion and guns.