In a column for Slate, legal experts Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern make the case that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his conservative gadfly wife Ginni are laying out a roadmap for Republicans to successfully steal the 2024 presidential election after Donald Trump failed to do so in 2020.
Noting that there appears to be no appetite by the House Select Committee looking into the Capitol insurrection to call Ginni Thomas in to talk about her efforts to get election officials in Arizona to defy the will of the voters, the two analysts claim this will embolden conservatives by providing them with a path to future election interference.
Writing, "there is seemingly nothing to be done about Justice Clarence Thomas’ refusal to recuse in cases that materially affect his spouse, even as he has already decided several matters surrounding the 2020 election … and also because that same spouse had written far more inflammatory, QAnon-style texts to Trump’s chief of staff urging him to set aside the 2020 contest, and nothing was done about that either," they added, "What’s past is prologue, and what was done sloppily in 2020 is being mapped out by experts for 2024."
Calling the texts and emails about the 2020 election of Ginni Thomas "demented," the two analysts said they nonetheless should be looked at as "a warning and road map for what is already being put into place for the next presidential contest. But next time, the lawyers won’t be sweating brown makeup or referencing crackpot theories of Italian election meddling."
Stating that the Ginni Thomas's Arizona emails contained a "prefabbed piece of legal advocacy,' they added that her husband has echoed the theory previously "as a matter of constitutional law," with Lithwick and Stern writing, "It didn’t work in 2020 because the legal and political structures to support it weren’t in place at the time. Those pieces are being put into place as we type this."
To make their point, they wrote: "Recall, for instance, that back in November of 2020, it wasn’t clear there were five votes at the Supreme Court to support the proposition that state legislatures could simply set aside election results they deemed tainted by impropriety. Recall that when lawyer/insurrectionists John Eastman (a Thomas clerk) and Jeffrey Bossert Clark floated that notion at the White House and elsewhere, serious DOJ attorneys told them in no uncertain terms to go away. Recall finally that one of the lawmakers in Arizona, Shawnna Bolick, is married to a state Supreme Court justice and is parent to Clarence Thomas’ godchild."
Adding that Jane Mayer of the New Yorker previously reported that Bolick introduced legislation that “would enable a majority of the legislature to override the popular vote … and dictate the state’s electoral college votes itself," the analysts wrote, "In other words, what Bolick couldn’t lawfully do in 2020 is a thing she hopes to do under color of law in future."
Dahlwick and Stern went on to add that Bolick is not alone in her beliefs and that "election deniers around the country are running for secretary of state and attorney general—vying to be swing states’ top election officer and top cop, respectively. If successful, they can use this power to aggressively investigate bogus claims of voter fraud, attempt to nullify Democratic ballots, refuse to certify the true results, and even try to approve an 'alternative' slate of electors for the loser."
"The question remaining isn’t whether it’ll happen; the question is whether it’ll succeed," they suggested.
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