(The Hill) — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Friday said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from any cases involving the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and, if former President Trump runs again, cases related to the 2024 election.
Thomas is facing growing ethics questions amid reports that this wife, Ginni Thomas, urged then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to make an aggressive effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Wyden said Clarence Thomas’s “conduct on the Supreme Court looks increasingly corrupt” in the wake of the new reporting.
“At the bare minimum, Justice Thomas needs to recuse himself from any case related to the January 6th investigation, and should Donald Trump run again, any case related to the 2024 election,” Wyden added.
Wyden is one of the first Democratic senators to call on Thomas to recuse himself since news broke Thursday of Ginni Thomas’s outreach to top members of Trump’s orbit. But critics have been raising concerns that Ginni Thomas’s political activity poses an ethically troubling overlap with her husband’s judicial position.
The 29 text messages between Ginni Thomas and Meadows were part of the 2,320 text messages he sent or received that Meadows handed over to the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
The new reports have also revived scrutiny over a January court ruling in which the Supreme Court blocked Trump’s bid to keep administration records from being handed to the Jan. 6 House committee. The decision was 8-1, with Thomas as the lone dissent. It’s unclear if Ginni Thomas’s messages would have been in the White House records being disputed in court.
Thomas also dissented in a February 2021 decision by the Supreme Court to turn away a challenge to Pennsylvania’s election results. Thomas wrote that the decision was “baffling” and “befuddling.”
Wyden said judges should recuse themselves from participating in a case if there is “even the appearance of a conflict of interest” and that “a person with an ounce of commonsense could see that bar is met here.”
“Justice Thomas participated in cases related to Donald Trump’s efforts to rig and then overturn the 2020 election, while his wife was pushing to do the same. He was the lone dissent in a case that could have denied the January 6th Committee records pertaining to the same plot his wife supported,” he said.