Clarence Thomas is breaking the law by ruling on Jan. 6 matters: Harvard legal scholar

Clarence Thomas is breaking the law by ruling on Jan. 6 matters: Harvard legal scholar

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are among the progressive Democrats who are calling for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to either resign or be impeached following reports that in November 2020, his wife, far-right GOP activist Ginni Thomas, urged former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to aggressively pursue efforts to overturn the presidential election results. And there are many Democrats who haven’t called for impeachment but are stressing that Justice Thomas needs to recuse himself from any decisions pertaining to the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

Harvard University legal scholar Laurence Tribe discussed the Clarence Thomas/Ginni Thomas scandal during a late March appearance on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show, “The Last Word,” stressing that it is unethical for the High Court justice to rule on anything January 6-related.

In January, Justice Thomas was the only dissenting vote when the High Court ruled to give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6 insurrection access to former President Donald Trump’s White House records.

The 80-year-old Tribe told O’Donnell, “What we know is that his wife had a direct interest not simply as a cheerleader, but as a participant in the strategy to overturn the results of an election to prevent the transition of power — something that Judge (David) Carter, just a couple of days ago, said was a serious crime on the part of the president, or at least probably was. The only possible answer that I suppose Justice Thomas might give is: I had no idea what my wife was up to.”

Tribe added that the text messages Ginni Thomas exchanged with Meadows after the 2020 election “show that” Ginni Thomas “was involved in the strategy itself, telling them they should get (attorney) Sidney Powell to overturn the election — that they should put pressure on Vice President Pence.”

Tribe told O’Donnell, “No justice shall participate in a matter where he has reason to know that his spouse or her spouse has an interest — and the interest here was very direct…. What Clarence Thomas did was illegal, and if he continues to participate in matters that arise from the attempts to get information to the January 6 committee, or anything related to the 2020 election, he is going to be violating the law again.”

According to Tribe, “This hurts the whole Supreme Court, not just him. It’s not just a blot on his reputation.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, Tribe told O’Donnell, needs to “make it clear to Clarence Thomas that” he must “recuse himself from all of the matters that arise out of the attempted coup and the insurrection.”

“There are going to be calls for his impeachment,” Tribe explained. “As a practical matter, that’s not going to go anywhere. But the Constitution is clear that justices hold their seats only during good behavior — and violating an act of Congress…. is not exactly good behavior. The threat of impeachment is a hollow one now, but it underscores the seriousness of what Justice Thomas has done.”

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