Dems want Justice Thomas to recuse himself from Trump cases

 December 22, 2023

Some congressional Democrats are calling upon U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to preemptively recuse himself from any cases that his court may hear regarding former President Donald Trump. 

CBS News reports that a group of eight congressional Democrats have sent a letter to Justice Thomas requesting his recusal.

The group is led by U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA). It also includes U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Dan Goldman (D-NY).

There is also a separate letter from U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

The letter from House Dems

It can be read in its entirety here. The Democrats' chief argument appears to be that Thomas ought to recuse himself from any case involving Trump because his wife, Ginni Thomas, is a Republican activist and this may prevent Justice Thomas from being impartial.

The Democrats specifically refer to the new code of conduct that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court recently adopted.

The code states that a justice ought to recuse himself or herself when his or her impartiality may be questioned. The code specifically lists instance in which a justice's spouse has an "interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding."

The Democratic members of Congress, in part, write:

We know through public reporting and through Congressional investigations that your wife, Virginia (“Ginni”) Thomas was intimately involved in Mr. Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election and to obstruct its certification – the very conspiracies at issue in this case . . . These details about your wife’s activities raise serious questions about your ability to be or even to appear impartial in any cases before the Supreme Court involving the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection.

The Democrats conclude, "If you want to show the American people that the Supreme Court’s recent Code of Conduct is worth more than the paper it is written on, you must do the honorable thing and recuse yourself from any decisions in the case of United States v. Trump."

Blumenthal's letter

Blumenthal sent his own letter, on Tuesday, to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

In his letter, Blumenthal calls upon Roberts "to take appropriate steps to ensure that Justice Clarence Thomas recuses himself from consideration of the petition for certiorari and any future proceedings in United States v. Trump."

Barring that, Blumenthal calls upon the court to provide to the public "an 'explanation of [his] recusal decision' showing how [Thomas's] participation comports with judicial ethics and federal law."

Blumenthal, like the House Democrats, went on to highlight the pro-Republican activities of Thomas' wife.

At the time of this writing, neither Thomas nor the Supreme Court has responded to these requests for Thomas's recusal.

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