Ginni Thomas, a far right activist and wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, admitted in an interview published on Monday that she attended the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
Thomas told The Washington Free Beacon that she attended the rally in support of former President Donald Trump, who gave a speech pushing false claims of election fraud briefly before the attack, urging his followers to go to the Capitol to “take back” the country. However, Thomas insisted that she had left early due to cold weather. (The temperatures that afternoon were in the low 40s.)
Although Thomas disputed claims that she had helped organize the rally, her defense goes against what some journalists have documented. “Three separate sources have told me they believe they saw Ginni Thomas at the Willard on Jan. 6,” journalist Hunter Walker tweeted in response to the interview. “That’s the hotel where rally planners had a headquarters and the Trump allies working to overturn the election had a ‘command center.'”
Notably, Clarence Thomas has never recused himself from any case that involved his wife’s far right advocacy.
There is no formal process requiring justices of the Court to recuse themselves. Rather, they are expected to follow the Judicial Code, though doing so is up to the discretion of the justices themselves. That provision of the code reads:
Any justice, judge or magistrate of the United States shall disqualify himself [or herself] in any proceeding in which his [or her] impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
In the interview, Ginni Thomas defended her activism and her husband’s work on the Court, arguing that their work does not intersect.
“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,” Ginni Thomas said.
However, Justice Thomas recently ruled on a case that now appears to be a possible conflict of interest. When the Supreme Court ruled in January of this year that Trump’s executive privilege claims should be waived — and that documents and material relating to the Capitol attack should be shared with the select committee investigating the day’s events — Thomas was the sole dissenter in the case.
One month prior to that ruling, Ginni Thomas led a disinformation campaign against the January 6 committee, alleging that the mob did “nothing wrong” and saying that the committee’s work was “overtly partisan” — comments that misrepresent the facts of that day, including the violence from far right Trump supporters.
Noah Bookbinder, president of the watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), noted Clarence Thomas’s apparent conflict of interest in the case, especially in light of new revelations that his wife was at the rally on January 6.
“Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone vote to block the House Select Committee from getting January 6th documents from Donald Trump,” Bookbinder observed. “We know now that his wife participated in the Jan. 6 rally. That creates a clear appearance of bias and a possible major conflict of interest.”