Ethics Rules To Stop Corruption Of Clarence Thomas Pushed By Watchdog

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is continuing to face pressure over the ties held by his wife, Ginni Thomas, to efforts to block Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.

Ginni directly advocated to Mark Meadows, who at the time was the White House chief of staff, in support of that ambition, helping outline a path that he and then-President Trump could take, even if deciding what to do was ultimately up to those officially on staff. She also participated in letter-writing campaigns putting pressure on state legislators after the last presidential race, and although the form such a campaign may take often deems it relatively impersonal, that’s not what happened here. Instead, she engaged in chit-chat with an Arizona legislator, which has the effect of showing this lawmaker was aware of personal pressure from a wife of a Justice on the Supreme Court. Yet, Clarence Thomas hasn’t recused himself — essentially meaning removed himself — from cases involving the 2020 election and, more specifically, efforts to subvert its outcome.

“Justice Thomas has recused from cases before SCOTUS in the past, including those involving his son,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) posted on Twitter earlier this week. “So why won’t he recuse from cases involving his wife, Ginni Thomas? We need a Code of Ethics to prevent the courts from being compromised by these kinds of conflicts of interest.” That code would — in at least the ideal form no doubt imagined here — come with enforcement mechanisms demanding compliance, and recusal from a case whose contents connect to a family member of a sitting Justice would no doubt be covered by the anticipated code the organization referenced.

Talk of reforming the court has also gone to the possibility of adding Justices to the bench, although in terms of the number of legislators putting their names to such a proposal, that hasn’t gotten very far, although the size of the court has been changed at other points in history. Elsewhere in the federal judiciary, though, Biden was actually outpacing Trump for the first roughly two years of his presidency in terms of the number of his picks to be a federal judge approved by the Senate, where Democrats remain in control. The one-hundredth judicial selection from President Biden behind whom the Senate threw its support was a nominee for a spot as judge in Puerto Rico.