Leftist Democrats and ‘experts’ revealed for hypocrisy in demand for Justice Thomas to recuse over views of his wife

The political left has nothing but utter contempt and hatred for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and has seized upon a stirred-up controversy about his wife, conservative activist Ginni Thomas, as an excuse to force him to recuse himself from certain cases, if not be removed from the high bench entirely.

In making such arguments for Justice Thomas’ recusal or removal, however, the ideological left has hypocritically undermined their own professed views on race and sex, not to mention their own prior arguments against recusal and removal of a judge due to their spouse, The Federalist reported.

The push for Thomas’ recusal

The current controversy stems from the fact that Ginni Thomas, as a prominent conservative activist, had some measure of communication and involvement in the post-2020 election time period about legal and/or political efforts to alter the reported outcome of that contest between former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.

Some on the left have asserted that because of his wife’s purported involvement in that area, Justice Thomas should recuse himself from any case involving the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, or really any issue on which his politically active wife has been engaged, based on the presumption that her viewpoints would inform and control his own.

An example of that push against Thomas is a March 2022 NPR article in which a group of judicial ethics experts all agreed that Thomas was obligated to recuse himself due to the activities and beliefs of his wife. More on those judicial ethics experts — specifically, South Texas College of Law Dean Emeritus James Alfini, Indiana University law professor Charles Geyh, and NYU law professor Stephen Gillers — later.

The Federalist noted the incredibly hypocritical irony of the fact that the left, in this case, appeared to undermine their own expressed views on race and sex and marriage in their perpetual bid to sideline or silence Justice Thomas, “even if it means adopting repugnant and sexist views straight out of the Middle Ages,” and added, “The unhinged nature of these smears also exposes the left’s racism, with their paternalistic views that a black man is dependent on his white wife for his thoughts.”

Legal precedent of the opposite variety

However, it is on the legal aspect of recusal that the left’s hypocrisy truly shines through, as it was just 11 years ago that the left, including some of the same judicial ethics experts cited by NPR, who had strenuously argued against the requested recusal of a judge over the actions and views of his wife.

In 2011, as federal Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt was considering a case involving California’s prior ban on same-sex marriage, he was asked to recuse himself because his wife, Ramona Ripston, was head of the American Civil Liberties Union-Southern California chapter, which stood opposed to California’s law and had filed briefs in district court in support of that law being overturned — which Reinhardt ultimately ruled to do.

As to the unmet demands for his recusal, Reinhardt wrote, in part, “[M]y wife and I share many fundamental interests by virtue of our marriage, but her views regarding issues of public significance are her own, and cannot be imputed to me, no matter how prominently she expresses them. … It is her view, and I agree, that she has the right to perform her professional duties without regard to whatever my views may be, and that I should do the same without regard to hers. … The views are hers, not mine, and I do not in any way condition my opinions on the positions she takes regarding any issues.”

Same judicial ethics experts once argued differently

Now for the real kicker here, in that during that 2011 controversy involving Judge Reinhardt and his liberal activist wife, an amicus brief arguing against Reinhardt’s recusal was filed by five judicial ethics experts — who just so happened to include Alfini, Geyh, and Gillers.

“In a case about marriage, Judge Reinhardt is faulted in effect for his own marriage. Amici claim that he is disqualified not because of his own actions or views but rather those of his spouse,” the judicial ethics experts wrote. “A century ago, notions like those advanced against Judge Reinhardt might have resonated (although wrongfully so). In this day and age, however, a spouse`s views and actions, however passionately held and discharged, are not imputed to her spouse, and Judge Reinhardt is not presumed to be the reservoir and carrier of his wife`s beliefs.”

So there you have it — little more than a decade ago, the left and its “experts” argued strenuously that a judge was not controlled by or to be held accountable for the actions and views of their spouse, at least when the targeted judge was liberal and aligned with their own views, but now that the judge in question is a despised conservative, all bets are off and a hypocritical reversal is in order, proving once again that if not for double standards, the left would have no standards at all.

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