Stepping out under his own byline, a member of the New York Times Editorial Board used revelations in a Washington Post report that Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, conspired with members of Donald Trump's White House to overturn the 2020 election as a springboard to say the justice needs to resign.
According to Jesse Wegman, Clarence and Ginni Thomas have "done enough damage" since Clarence took his spot on the country's highest court in 1991.
As the columnist noted, Ginni Thomas' antics have not only cast a cloud over her husband's curious sole vote to keep Trump's White House documents secret but also what influence she has had on his 30-year career.
"What did Justice Clarence Thomas know, and when did he know it?" Wegman asked before adding, "The question usually gets directed at politicians, not judges, but it’s a fair one in light of the revelation on Thursday that Justice Thomas’s wife, Ginni, was working feverishly behind the scenes — and to a far greater degree than she previously admitted — in a high-level effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election."
Graciously conceding that Justice Thomas may not have known that his wife was texting during the insurrection attempt -- and with whom -- the columnist insisted that, nonetheless, the damage is done.
"It sure makes you wonder, doesn’t it?" he wrote. "And that’s precisely the problem: We shouldn’t have to wonder. The Supreme Court is the most powerful judicial body in the country, and yet, as Alexander Hamilton reminded us, it has neither the sword nor the purse as a means to enforce its rulings. It depends instead on the American people’s acceptance of its legitimacy, which is why the justices must make every possible effort to appear fair, unbiased and beyond reproach."
Citing a speech by Justice Thomas, where he noted, "I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions," Wegman pointed out, "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."
According to Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, "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," Gillers explained that his patience with the couple has run out, adding, "they’ve really abused that tolerance."
"Ms. Thomas’s antics, 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," Wegman wrote. "The court is in deep trouble these days, pervaded by what Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently called the 'stench' of partisanship — a stench arising in no small part from the Thomases’ behavior. It is hard to imagine that the other justices, regardless of their personal politics, aren’t bothered."
"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 added before concluding, "He would do the country a service by stepping down and making room for someone who won’t have that problem."
You can read his whole opinion piece here.
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