(Photo: Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Mar 25, 2022
Sen. Ron Wyden on Friday called on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from all cases related to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, after the justice's wife was found to have pushed for the overturning of the presidential election.
"Justice Thomas' conduct on the Supreme Court looks increasingly corrupt."
Earlier this year, Thomas dissented in a decision regarding former President Donald Trump's effort to block the January 6 congressional committee from viewing White House records.
It is unclear whether text messages sent by Thomas's wife, right-wing activist Virginia Thomas, to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were included in the records in question--but Wyden said the associate justice ignored an obvious conflict of interest by failing to recuse himself from the case.
"Justice Thomas' conduct on the Supreme Court looks increasingly corrupt," said the Oregon Democrat, who was the first lawmaker to call for Thomas' recusal. "Judges are obligated to recuse themselves when their participation in a case would create even the appearance of a conflict of interest. A person with an ounce of common sense could see that bar is met here."
\u201cNEW: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) calls on Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any cases related to the January 6th investigation and, if former President Trump runs again, the 2024 election (h/t @jordainc)\u201d— John Kruzel (@John Kruzel) 1648221989
As the Washington Postreported Thursday, following President Joe Biden's victory in November 2020, Thomas texted Meadows urging him to "Help This Great President stand firm" as Trump was claiming the election results were fraudulent.
"The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History," Thomas added in one of 29 text messages she exchanged with Meadows.
Weeks after the text messages were sent, Justice Thomas also dissented in a decision rejecting a challenge to Pennsylvania's election results in which Republicans had objected to the state's extension of its deadline for mail-in ballots.
"Justice Thomas participated in cases related to Donald Trump's efforts to rig and then overturn the 2020 election, while his wife was pushing to do the same," Wyden said Friday. "At the bare minimum, Justice Thomas needs to recuse himself from any case related to the January 6th investigation, and should Donald Trump run again, any case related to the 2024 election."
The texts Thomas sent to Meadows were reported less than two weeks after she acknowledged that she had attended the January 6 rally where Trump told his supporters to march to the Capitol building where lawmakers were certifying the election results, urging them to "demand that Congress do the right thing."
Journalist Ryan Cooper also called on the select committee on the January 6 attack to subpoena the Supreme Court justice "to see if he was implicated" in the insurrection, and rebuked Sen. Richard Blumenthal's (D-Conn.) suggestion that Thomas "voluntarily" appear before the panel.
Political organizer Max Berger called on Democrats to demand Thomas' resignation or join Omar in pushing for impeachment proceedings.
"Clarence Thomas has already failed to recuse himself from cases related to his wife or Donald Trump," Berger noted.
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