Hoo boy. We’re all still trying to unpack what happened last Wednesday when right-wing fanatics launched an assault on the Capitol. Participants are being identified, consequences are being had and arrests are being made.
January 6th will now be known as a dark day in our history. As I’ve said before, there’s plenty of blame to go around, and it’s important to know exactly who did what. Like how Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, expressed her “LOVE” to the demonstrators just a few hours before the violent insurrection began. (Days later she amended the post to add “[Note: written before violence in US Capitol].”)
Over at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern details Ginni Thomas’s support of the rioters. Ginni has long been active politically (and she has no problem hiring controversial right wingers known for saying “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE”). She currently runs a conservative advocacy group, and from the very beginning of Trump’s term, she’s been looking to organize around his agenda.
As Stern points out, despite the brazen political advocacy of his wife, Clarence Thomas has never recused himself in any of the cases surrounding issues she’s involved with, and has reaped the benefits of supporting Trump.
In turn, Trump has rewarded Thomas with an extraordinary amount of access to the Oval Office. Her advocacy group Groundswell got an audience with the president in early 2019. According to the New York Times, the meeting was arranged after Clarence and Ginni Thomas had dinner with the Trumps. (Clarence Thomas and Trump appear to be quite friendly: The justice took his clerks to meet with the president in the Oval Office at least once; Ginni attended as well.) At the White House, Groundswell’s members lobbied Trump against transgender service in the military, which he already prohibited in 2017. The ban took effect in 2019, around the time of Groundswell’s meeting, after the Supreme Court lifted lower court orders blocking it by a 5–4 vote. (Clarence Thomas did not recuse himself from the case; he has never recused from any case because of his wife’s lobbying activities.) The New York Times also reported that Ginni Thomas compiled lists of federal employees whom she deemed insufficiently loyal to the president. She sent her lists to Trump, urging him to fire the disloyal employees, though he seems to have largely ignored her. He has, however, stacked his administration with former Thomas clerks.
But this is nothing new — remember there are no hard and fast rules about recusal on SCOTUS; indeed, Thomas refused to recuse himself on the ACA case despite Ginni’s vocal opposition to, and work on defeating, the law.
What Ginni actually did was bad enough, but there’s also a rumor circulating on social media that Ginni Thomas funded some 80+ buses to get rioters to the Capitol. Rumors, however, are far from 100 percent accurate. And indeed this one appears false (as also sleuthed by Mark Joseph Stern) though based on a combination of her former association with Turning Point USA (she once served on their advisory council) and Charlie Kirk’s claim that that group and a related one sent 80+ buses to the Capitol.
Though she didn’t directly pay for people to attend, her support of their actions still speaks volumes.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).