Why won’t Democrats do anything about Ginni Thomas?

The seditious wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice should have every Democratic lawmaker enraged, but they don’t seem to really care.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 21: (L-R) Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sits with his wif...
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Impact

Another week, another chilling revelation about conservative activist and Supreme Court spouse Ginni Thomas’s irrefutable role in the insurrectionist effort to subvert the 2020 presidential elections. First was her admission that she attended the “stop the steal” rally that served as cover for the January 6 coup attempt; then came reports that she had repeatedly texted former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, urging him to overturn the election results; after that was the news she had pushed dozens of Arizona officials to deny Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Now, according to the Washington Post, it seems she was also in regular contact with disgraced seditionist attorney John Eastman, mastermind of the Trump administration’s legal effort to remain in power in spite of their decisive defeat. What’s more, per the New York Times, it seems those conversations may well have contributed to Eastman’s insider assertion that the Supreme Court was potentially open to hearing one of his pet cases — as he told another pro-Trump attorney, as well as Trump campaign officials in the days before the January 6 insurrection, “odds [that SCOTUS will take the case] are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway.”

All this is worrisome enough, given Thomas’s stature as a high level, influential conservative operator in her own right. The fact that she’s married to one of the Supreme Court’s most far right justices, however, elevates her enthusiastic contributions to the former president’s attempted coup into uncharted — and truly dangerous — territory. Because while she worked tirelessly to overturn the 2020 presidential race, her husband Clarence was busy adjudicating cases directly related to those same efforts.

It’s the sort of glaring conflict of interest (at the very least!) that would, in pretty much any other situation on Earth, land everyone involved in some serious career jeopardy, if not legal straits. And yet, for some reason, Justice Thomas remains in his position of unimaginable (and unimaginably compromised) power, while Ginni is merely being “invited” to talk to the January 6 Committee investigating Trump’s attempted coup — and only after some apparently divisive arguing over whether that was even necessary, by the committee’s members.

In part, this stems from a sentiment — particularly among Democrats — that the Supreme Court is sacrosanct and beyond political meddling (as opposed to conservatives who have made it their life’s work to game, manipulate, and politically meddle with the judiciary branch on just about every level). It comes from the same sort of norm-respecting inclination that afforded Republicans the wiggle room to dominate the court in the first place. And it’s understandable, really: the idealized fantasy of a purely rational judiciary unsullied by politics is at the core of a fundamental misunderstanding between conservatives who correctly see the the court as another tool for their successful accumulation of power, and liberals who seem inclined to pretend like the former doesn’t exist.

Herein lies the dilemma, then. By addressing both Thomases’ obvious collusion — as a minority of Democrats have already begun doing — the Democrats open themselves up to fully politicizing the court (or, at least, acknowledging that it’s already been fully politicized) and, in doing so, place themselves at a distinct disadvantage to conservatives who are years ahead of them in this respect. But to ignore it runs an even bigger risk by essentially green lighting the Thomases’ behavior, and setting a precedent for future — potentially successful — coup attempts.

It’s an unenviable position to be in, for sure, but ignoring — or at best, grumbling, without actually acting — the Thomases’ blatant seditionist project isn’t much better than actively abetting it. It’s time for Democrats to pull their heads out of the sand, uncomfortable as that may be, and see the court for what it truly is. If they don’t, whatever happens next is in no small part on them.