Democrats ramp up pressure on Clarence Thomas to recuse himself in Trump case

December 19, 2023

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is facing calls from a growing number of Democrats who say he should recuse himself from a case examining former president Donald Trump’s presidential immunity—with House members now raising concerns about the justice’s ability to remain impartial, given his wife’s involvement in the movement to overturn the 2020 election results, reports The Washington Post.

The immunity case is the latest test of the court’s recently released Code of Conduct. Last month, all nine justices, including Thomas, signed onto the 14-page document outlining how they should behave and perform their official duties.

Trump has been charged with four counts related to conspiring to obstruct the results of the 2020 election. His lawyers argue that presidential immunity shields him from prosecution. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled against him in December. Trump appealed the decision, and Special Counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court last week to expedite the process. Trump’s lawyers have until Wednesday to respond to Smith’s request.

In a new letter, eight House Democrats—led by Representative Hank Johnson (Georgia), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee’s courts subcommittee—are calling on Thomas to recuse himself in the case, citing the court’s new code of conduct’s g

Specifically, they raised concerns about Thomas’s wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who repeatedly pressed the Trump White House and lawmakers to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory; attended the Stop the Steal rally before the January 6 Capitol attack; and told the House committee investigating the attack last year that she still believed the 2020 election was stolen.

The letter, dated December 15, says Ginni Thomas’s actions after the election “raise serious questions” about her husband’s “ability to be or even to appear impartial in any cases before the Supreme Court involving the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection.”

“If you want to show the American people that the Supreme Court’s recent Code of Conduct is worth more than the paper it is written on, you must do the honorable thing and recuse yourself from any decisions in the case of United States v. Trump,” the lawmakers state.

Besides Johnson, the letter was signed by Representatives Jamie Raskin (Maryland), Madeleine Dean (Pennsylvania), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Gerald E. Connolly (Virginia), Dan Goldman (New York) and Jasmine Crockett (Texas).

Thomas did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning, December 18.

Research contact: @washingtonpost