Why we may be asking the wrong questions about the Supreme Court's legitimacy
Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (Phot oof Thomas vie Shutterstock/REX)

Roll Call, the Capitol Hill daily, ran a Monday morning round-up of recent items that included news of redhat propagandist Ginni Thomas and her voluntary appearance before the J6 committee.

The spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is, at the very least, a willing participant in the criminal former president’s attempted paramilitary takeover of the United States government.

Via text, she urged then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to find ways to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in the belief that the outcome was phony and fraudulent. She lobbied Republican legislators in swing states like Arizona and Wisconsin to choose their own “electors,” therefore overruling the democratic will of voters.

READ MORE: 'Shaken' law professors revolt as hyper-partisan SCOTUS rulings 'upend constitutional principles'

The Supreme Court’s fall term opens today.

Roll Call’s report centered on the same thing everyone else seems to be centered on – the impact of her “activism” on the high court and whether Justice Thomas has been compromised legally and ethically.

Roll Call’s Michael Macagnone wrote that: “her apparent involvement in that effort revealed by emails and texts, as well as her broader conservative political activism, have served as a focal point for political arguments about the independence of a Supreme Court that is set to start a new term Monday with a slate of controversial cases.”

As I said, Roll Call’s reporting is similar to other reporting I’ve read. Time and again, the focus shifts from Ginni to Clarence. This would be understandable if not for a presumption lurking beneath – that if Justice Thomas isn’t compromised, there’s nothing to worry about.

READ MORE: Ginni Thomas has become a 'one-woman constitutional crisis': columnist

“I can guarantee that my husband has never spoken with me about pending cases at the court,” Thomas told reporters last week.

“It’s an iron-clad rule in our home.”

She went on to say:

“It is laughable for anyone who knows my husband to think I could influence his jurisprudence — the man is independent and stubborn, with strong character traits of independence and integrity.”

I think the public’s focus is misplaced.

The question shouldn’t be whether Justice Thomas is compromised. The question shouldn’t be whether Ginni Thomas talked to her husband about her “activism.” These questions can’t be answered.

Clarence and Ginni are a closed circuit. They are impervious to doubts about the moral constitution of their marriage. Such suspicions are tacky, for one thing. For another, we can’t know if there’s an iron-clad rule. All we can do is take their word for it.

What can’t we know?

We can’t know if Justice Thomas is compromised, because we can’t know if he and his wife talked about her “activism.” As husband and wife, they are a black box. We can only take their word for it. We can’t know if her “activism” influenced his choices on the bench.

We don’t know, and will never know, what we can’t know.

A pragmatic question – one whose answer we can put to good use democratically – is the one we are not seeing while asking the wrong questions, though the pragmatic question is staring us in the face.

If we know that we can’t know, can they be trusted?

Consider what we do know, moreover.

“Thomas .... reiterated her belief that the 2020 election was stolen during her interview Thursday with the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, according to the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.),” the Post reported.

Ginni Thomas believes the Big Lie. That’s what we know. Moreover, we know that her husband knows that Ginni Thomas believes the Big Lie. We know that Justice Thomas has made and is going to make decisions about the law knowing that his wife believes the Big Lie. We know that we can’t know what they talk about privately.

That’s not all.

We know that the Big Lie is a direct assault on the rule of law. It creates conditions in which bad actors justify doing anything – even an attempted paramilitary takeover of the United States government – in order to stop a perceived enemy that they have manufactured.

The rule of law is, quite literally, overruled by the rule of the Big Lie.

In sum, the wife of a Supreme Court justice is asking us to trust her and her husband even though we can’t know what they talk about in private while at the same time she openly commits herself, via Donald Trump’s Big Lie, to a direct assault on the rule of law.

The truth is in plain sight. They are unworthy of public trust.

There are no more questions, except this one:

What are we going to do with what we know?

READ MORE: 'I see no signs of them slowing down': Legal experts raise red flags as Supreme Court begins new term