‘You can’t make that make sense’: Supreme Court expert rails against Justice Clarence Thomas for potential conflict of interest

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A Supreme Court expert has lambasted Clarence Thomas over his refusal to recuse himself from politically charged cases which his wife has openly lobbied over.

Ginni Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, last week signed an open letter calling for the 6 January committee’s two Republican members to be ousted from the House GOP conference.

Her husband was the sole Supreme Court justice to vote against releasing Donald Trump’s White House documents about the riots at the US Capitol in an 8-1 decision on Thursday.

Supreme Court expert and journalist Elie Mystal told MSNBC’s The Reidout that Justice Thomas had a clear conflict of interest in the case.

“Maybe he dissented because Clarence Thomas’s entire brand is to be wrong all the time,” he said.

Joy Reid of MSNBC’s The Reidout with Elie Mystal (MSNBC)
Joy Reid of MSNBC’s The Reidout with Elie Mystal (MSNBC)

“But the appearance here is that the reason he dissented is because his wife Ginni Thomas is all up in January 6,” Mr Mystal, The Nation’s justice correspondent, said.

“You can’t make that make sense.”

Mr Mystal said Justice Thomas had repeatedly ruled on decisions that his wife had been involved in lobbying for or against.

“The other person that really deserves some blame here is John Roberts.

Clarence Thomas (Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune)
Clarence Thomas (Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune)

“He could also be in a position to censure or punish ClarenceThomas for his refusal to do the baseline moral character thing and recuse himself from situations where his wife might be literally implicated.”

In a new report for the New Yorker, Jane Mayer revealed Ginni Thomas’s lobbying firm Liberty Consulting had been paid more than $200,000 by the conservative pressure group Center for Security Policy in 2017 and 2018 that had filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban.

Justice Thomas voted to uphold the ban twice.

Ms Thomas also launched something called the Impact Awards four years ago to honour “courageous cultural warriors”.

“Many of the recipients have served on boards or committees with Ginni Thomas, and quite a few have had business in front of the Supreme Court, either filing amicus briefs or submitting petitions asking that the Justices hear cases,” Ms Mayer wrote.

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