Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas arrives at an event with his wife Ginni Thomas
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia Thomas arrive at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As Supreme Court Takes Trump Immunity Case, Clarence Thomas Urged to Recuse

Critics also suggested that by hearing the case, the justices are trying to "buy him time to retake the White House."

Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to take former President Donald Trump's immunity case, Justice Clarence Thomas faced pressure to not participate due to his wife's involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

"Clarence Thomas must recuse himself from this case," asserted Stand Up America, echoing the progressive advocacy group's demand for another Trump case argued before the court earlier this month. Although the justice's wife, right-wing activist Ginni Thomas, was part of the push to stop the certification of the 2020 results, he has not recused himself from relevant cases.

The immunity case that the high court now plans to hear in late April stems from Trump's 2020 election interference, which culminated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Following a probe led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, Trump was indicted in August. The likely Republican presidential nominee faces 91 charges across four criminal cases, two related to the election.

In a statement welcoming the Supreme Court's move Wednesday, Trump doubled down on his presidential immunity argument. He had asked the justices to weigh in after an appellate panel ruled that he could not claim immunity in the federal election case, echoing a December decision by Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

After Chutkan rejected Trump's immunity claim, Smith asked the Supreme Court to skip the appeals process, but the justices declined. Them taking the case now means that Chutkan must wait to begin the trial, just months from the November election.

"The Supreme Court's decision to hear Trump's appeal and delay arguments until April is a deliberate attempt to postpone accountability for Trump's role in the January 6th attack on our country," declared Stand Up America executive director Christina Harvey. "It also gives Trump a free pass on the campaign trail in the meantime. At a time when trust in the Supreme Court is at record lows, decisions like these only reinforce Americans' belief that Supreme Court justices are politicians in robes."

"Further raising concerns is Justice Thomas' continued refusal to recuse himself from this case and others related to the efforts to overthrow the 2020 election—efforts his wife participated in and pressured state officials to support," she said. "The American people deserve swift and transparent justice, not a protracted legal process that allows Trump to evade responsibility for his actions."

Take Back the Court Action Fund president Sarah Lipton-Lubet pointed out that "when it comes to helping corporations or restricting reproductive freedom, the Republican Supreme Court justices have shown they can work at breakneck speed."

"So why the holdup on this case?" she continued. "The obvious answer is that they know Trump's claims are dangerous and laughable, but they want to buy him time to retake the White House anyway."

While Trump didn't appoint Thomas, he did send three other right-wingers to the court: Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.

This post has been updated with comment from former President Donald Trump and Mark Joseph Stern.

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