Inside the intimate relationships Clarence and Ginni Thomas have with key January 6th players
The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and attempt to overthrow the election has moved closer to subpoenaing Ginni Thomas, co-chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) revealed on Sunday.
More evidence has been presented about the political relationships that Thomas along with her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas, have with special interest groups that control the judicial options handed to Republican lawmakers.
Conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo, who has worked with the Federalist Society for years, and has been referred to as "arguably the most powerful figure in the federal justice system" with his "network of interlocking nonprofits," the Washington Post described, which were started and funded to get Republicans to put their judges on the bench.
While Brett Kavanaugh was being promoted by Trump, Leo told a group of top Koch network donors that he was "just the beginning of an even bigger effort to load up the federal judiciary with conservative judges," quoted CNBC. It proved to be correct, as Trump scored his third Justice just weeks before the election. It resulted in the overturning of reproductive freedom and privacy for women across the country.
A former colleague told the Daily Beast that Leo’s efforts to change the judiciary came from his realization that the conservative position on culture war issues like abortion, contraception, and LGBTQ rights were unpopular. Americans were never going to vote to eliminate LGBTQ equality, abortion or contraception. The only way of ensuring that it would happen is if it was forced on Americans by conservative justices.
That became reiterated in Justice Clarence Thomas' concurring decision eliminating Roe.
"Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents,” Thomas wrote citing to the rulings that legalized contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage equality, respectively. “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous’ … we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents."
It's the reason that the House moved legislation to codify same-sex relationships and contraception legislatively.
While Leo's life in politics is certainly his own, his close relationship with the Thomas family appears to be a driving force behind the decisions from Thomas.
Leo and Thomas have a longstanding friendship that began when he served under Thomas on the Court of Appeals in 1990 before Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court, the Washington Post explained.
The Daily Beast noted that the two have taken vacations together.
"Leo made Thomas the godfather of one of his children, and, according to The New York Times, has hosted the justice on vacation at his New England getaway. Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, was also the subject of a recent profile by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, titled, ‘Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to The Supreme Court?’ It detailed the staggering extent and depth of connections between the justice’s wife and conservative groups," said the report.
That same piece noted that Leo didn't start at the Federalist Society right after being hired so he could help Thomas through the confirmation process. Thomas has been a member of the group since the 1980s when he was in college and continues to give
The report also described Leo's adviser from the company CRC Advisors, who helped Thomas promote a new release of his 2007 memoir in 2021. CRC was founded by a former executive director of the National Conservative Political Action Committee in the late 80s. CRC Advisors was then created by Leo and the CRC's longtime President Greg Mueller in 2020. Leo told Axios when the CRC planned to inject a “minimum of $10 million” into court advocacy matters ahead of the 2020 election.
"When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was promoting a new release of his 2007 memoir last October, he made an interesting choice for his public relations firm, a company run by one of the most influential figures in conservative legal circles: Leonard Leo. Leo, the former head of the Federalist Society and a top fundraiser for right-wing judiciary activist groups, wasn’t just in charge of Thomas’ memoir; Leo’s PR firm, CRC Advisors, was also tasked with promoting a Thomas documentary, and the firm was the registered agent for four Thomas-centric web domains," noted the report.
They've also been activists in the far right side of the Catholic church, the New York Times described in Feb. 2022.
"Leo, a Catholic like the justice, first met him when he was clerking on the District of Columbia Circuit," said the Times. "Thomas, then a judge on that court, became a mentor. The justice has spent time at Leo’s New England vacation home, is godfather to one of his children and has supported him through hardships, including the death of his 14-year-old daughter from spina bifida. The two men often discussed religion — Thomas once recommended he read “A History of Christianity” by Paul Johnson — and Leo says Justice Thomas saw parallels between how the church grew and how to build a body of conservative jurisprudence."
The same report from the Times also revealed that Thomas is the godfather of one of Leo's daughters.
“The justice has spent time at Leo’s New England vacation home, is godfather to one of his children and has supported him through hardships, including the death of his 14-year-old daughter from spina bifida," said the Times.
Thomas even keeps a drawing from Leo's daughter on his desk, a New Yorker report from 2017 reported.
"In the meantime, he had married his high-school sweetheart, Sally Schroeder. In 1992, they had their first child, Margaret, who was born with spina bifida, which confined her to a wheelchair and led to other medical complications... 'She was extraordinarily vivacious, talented, simple. She had a great way with people,' [said Leo]. Clarence Thomas, Leo said, still keeps her drawings under glass on his desk.'"
Ginni Thomas went so far as to say that she considers Leo to be a mentor of hers. She gave Leo an award at one of her Impact Awards. She called him a "hero," a "force of nature," and a "disciplined strategist." Prior to that, however, served on the board of Thomas’ Liberty Central group in 2010, which hired CRC Public Relations to be the spokesperson. He and Mrs. Thomas came together for the Council for National Policy, where Leo serves on the board and Thomas works on the political side, the Council for National Policy Action.
Such a board welcomes a group of other board members like extremists, conspiracy theorists, a recognized hate group and Ginni Thomas. The group was among those who attempted to overturn the 2020 election.
A 2013 Mother Jones report noted that the two also worked together on the right-wing messaging group Groundwell, which would meet in the offices of Judicial Watch. They coordinated with Breitbart and the conservative Washington Examiner.
"Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation,” reported Mother Jones, citing documents they'd obtained.
The 2013 report listed, “Among the conveners listed in an invitation to a May 8 meeting of Groundswell were Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News Network; Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who resoundingly lost a Maryland Senate race last year (and is now running for a House seat); Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society; Sandy Rios, a Fox News contributor; Lori Roman, a former executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council; and Austin Ruse, the head of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.”
Many of these people also pushed the 2020 election conspiracy and attempt to overthrow the election. Roman paints herself as an election fraud expert. Austin Ruse, another Trump supporter, argued Trump is "owed" a second term.
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