Rep. Jamie Raskin

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) speaks in the House of Representatives on July 12, 2022.

(Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Raskin: Thomas 'Absolutely Should Recuse' in Trump 2024 Case

"The question is what do we do if he doesn't recuse himself," the Maryland Democrat said.

Amid expectations that the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court will soon consider legal arguments that former President Donald Trump should be disqualified from 2024 Republican primary ballots, Democratic Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin on Sunday called for Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any such cases.

Raskin—a constitutional scholar and the lead Trump impeachment manager after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol—appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" to discuss claims that the Republican is not qualified to hold office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution after inciting an insurrection.

Thomas isn't one of the court's three justices appointed by the twice-impeached former president, but his wife, Ginni Thomas, participated in the far-right effort to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election that Trump lost to Joe Biden, the Democratic president who is now seeking reelection next year.

After CNN's Dana Bash asked about potential recusals, Raskin responded, "I think anybody looking at this in any kind of dispassionate, reasonable way would say if your wife was involved in the Big Lie and claiming that Donald Trump had actually won the presidential election and been agitating for that and participating in the events leading up to January 6, that you shouldn't be participating."

"He absolutely should recuse himself," added Raskin, ranking member of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, echoing a recent letter from other Democrats in Congress. "The question is what do we do if he doesn't recuse himself."

Raskin also discussed the nonbinding Code of Conduct that the court unveiled last month—amid mounting public pressure and concerns about right-wing justices taking gifts from wealthy Republican donors—and the 14th Amendment argument about Trump, referencing an August essay from a pair of conservative legal scholars.

In a case brought by a watchdog group and legal team representing GOP and unaffiliated voters, the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this month barred Trump from the state's 2024 primary ballot. Both the state's Republican Party and those behind the case have asked for an expedited review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Maine voters also challenged formally challenged Trump's eligibility, leading Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Thursday to bar Trump from next year's primary ballot. The recent developments have led to a surge in threats against Bellows and her Colorado counterpart, Democrat Jena Griswold.

If Trump—who is also facing various criminal cases—wins the Republican nomination but loses the 2024 general election, he will try to reverse the results again, Raskin warned Sunday.

"Donald Trump can strike the pose of the martyr in any given context," he said. "If he's allowed to stay on the ballot, despite his clear incitement of an insurrection and attempt to overturn the results in the 2020 election, and he loses to Joe Biden... he will feel himself a martyr there, and he will try to overturn the election result again."

"So I don't think we can run scared from Donald Trump," Raskin argued. "We have got to enforce our Constitution. And that certainly was the design of the framers, and that's what they would have us do."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

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