Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas appears at the White House on October 26, 2020. (Photo: Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Citing New Whiff of Corruption, Wyden Calls on Thomas to Recuse From All Jan. 6 Cases

"Judges are obligated to recuse themselves when their participation in a case would create even the appearance of a conflict of interest," said the Oregon Democrat. "A person with an ounce of common sense could see that bar is met here."

Julia Conley

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 Ginni 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."

As the Washington Post reported 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."

As Common Dreams reported Friday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) joined government watchdogs in demanding Thomas' impeachment following the news of his wife's text messages.

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.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo