Clarence Thomas Again Moves To Block Jan. 6 Inquiry That Could Implicate His Wife
In a dissent on Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas showed that he would have blocked enforcement of a subpoena issued by the House Jan. 6 Committee for the phone and text records of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward.
The committee is seeking Ward’s records related to her role in former President Donald Trump’s effort to steal the 2020 election as a fake elector casting ballots in the Electoral College for Trump.
This is the second time Thomas has indicated that he would intervene to hamper the committee’s efforts to investigate the plot to overturn the 2020 election in which his wife, Ginni Thomas, played a role
Thomas previously was the lone justice to dissent from the court’s refusal to block the release of White House records held by the National Archives to the Jan. 6 Committee. It was later revealed in March that his wife had been in communication with White House officials about Trump’s machinations to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.
Text messages between Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Ginni Thomas revealed the justice’s wife to be enraptured by baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud and involved in plotting with the White House to overturn Trump’s loss.
Email messages from Thomas to state lawmakers, including those in Arizona, revealed her efforts to pressure Republican state legislatures to reject Biden electors and appoint fake electors in support of Trump. These fake GOP elector slates, which included Ward, could then be submitted to Congress as part of Trump’s plan to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject Biden’s electors and declare Trump the victor.
Ward had asked the high court to block lower court decisions ordering her to comply with the committee’s subpoena. She declared the case “one of the most important First Amendment cases in history” and said forcing her to comply could put a “chill on public participation in partisan politics.”
But the court rejected her appeal, clearing the way for the House panel to get Ward’s phone records. Justice Samuel Alito joined Thomas in dissenting on the denial of Ward’s request. Neither justice wrote an opinion explaining their dissents.
While Thomas has refused to recuse himself from cases involving his wife’s political activities, he did previously recuse himself from cases involving his son.
Ginni Thomas testified privately before the Jan. 6 Committee in September. She reportedly told the panel that she still believes the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
Justice Thomas first ruled in favor of blocking the disclosure of Trump White House documents prior to his wife’s text messages with Meadows being publicly disclosed. Since then, congressional Democrats have called on him to recuse himself, resign or be impeached for inserting himself into cases that appear to be in defense of his wife’s political activities.
Others have noted that Thomas’ continued participation in Jan. 6 cases highlighted the need to require the court to abide by a binding ethics code.