Justice Thomas hasn’t strayed from his judicial philosophy
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, political activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, certainly advanced bizarre conspiracy theories in her text messages to Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, urging him to resist certification of the 2020 election results (“No kid gloves: Jan. 6 committee must subpoena Ginni Thomas. Now.”). Nothing in the hysterical text messages, however, suggests she inspired, controlled, or even participated in the rioting at the Capitol. In suggesting otherwise, the March 31 Globe editorial supports a different conspiracy theory.
If Justice Thomas was the “best friend” who “comforted” her, it would not suggest anything more than a spouse trying to calm down an agitated partner.
Judges who declined to recuse themselves on cases brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, even though their spouses were high officials in that organization, have not been the subject of adverse comment by the Globe. There may be spouses of other Supreme Court justices who fervently believe that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation. That would not be a reason for those justices to recuse themselves in the event a case on that subject reaches the court.
It is somewhat retrograde to suggest that a husband controls the political beliefs of his wife.
Finally, all judges have private political views. The obligation is for them to disregard those views and follow the law when deciding cases. Justice Thomas, over the course of 30 years on the court, has laid out his own well-defined judicial philosophy, from which he has not departed, even when his views conflicted with close allies, such as the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
The theory advanced here by the Globe seems like little more than an effort to pressure Thomas to recuse himself on the wide range of cases involving positions publicly advocated by his wife.
Brian R. Merrick
The writer is a retired first justice of the Orleans District Court.
Guard against a thumb on the scales of justice
If I, one of 330 million American hoi polloi, send an e-mail to the last Trump administration chief of staff standing complaining about the 2020 presidential election and unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, I may be called a harebrained fool. A wannabe doyenne of the Beltway with a loud voice, one of only several current spouses of a Supreme Court justice, is not fooling. She expects her opinion, however hyperbolically absurd, to be heard and answered. Justice Clarence Thomas must be sensitive to conjugal position-taking and consider recusal when any legal issue germane to the topic reaches the thin air of the high court. And, yes, Ginni Thomas must be questioned under oath by the Jan. 6 panel.
We need to be sure of the Supreme Court’s impartiality
Just when you thought our political discourse couldn’t get any worse comes word that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent dozens of text messages to Mark Meadows, then White House chief of staff, in support of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Couple this with the facts that the former White House administration was trying to get the election results overturned by the Supreme Court, and that Thomas was the only justice who voted against the Jan. 6 committee getting information from the National Archives, and the stage was set for a significant conflict of interest.
The American people need assurances that the Supreme Court operates without political influence so that its impartiality can never be questioned. The court must strengthen its recusal rules to ensure that justices cannot influence a decision based on their own, or their relatives’, political beliefs. At a minimum, Justice Thomas should be forced to recuse himself from any cases involving the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.