What's in a nickname?
Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, a well-connected conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was very invested in the false idea that former President Donald Trump was robbed of victory in the 2020 election, according to text messages she sent to Mark Meadows, then Trump's White House chief of staff, The Washington Post and CBS News reported Thursday evening.
Thomas' texts to Trump's top White House aide in the weeks following the Nov. 3 election are tinged with conspiracy theories about election fraud and suggest she discussed those ideas with her husband. Meadows, who is now under investigation for committing possible vote fraud in the 2020 election, sometimes replied.
When Meadows wrote Thomas on Nov. 24 to "not grow weary" in this "fight of good versus evil," and said he has "staked my career" on overturning Biden's win, Thomas replied: "Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now." She did not say who that "best friend" was, but Clarence Thomas has repeatedly referred to his wife as his "best friend."
There are no overt references to Clarence Thomas or the Supreme Court in this batch of Ginni Thomas' text messages to Meadows, but the exchanges "represent the first evidence that she was directly advising the White House as it sought to overturn the election," The New York Times reports. In fact, they show that Thomas "effectively toggled between like-minded members of the executive and legislative branches, even as her husband, who sits atop the judiciary branch that is supposed to serve as a check on the other branches of government, heard election-related cases."
Justice Thomas has been Trump's "most stalwart defender on the court," the Times adds, and cast the lone vote against allowing the release of Trump White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Ginni Thomas has a First Amendment right to express her opinions, but "the consequences of what she's done is that I don't think that Clarence Thomas can sit on any case involving, even remotely, the conduct of the election, the vote of Congress on Jan. 6, or any cases involving the Jan. 6 committee's attempts to get information," Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor and judicial ethics expert, told the Times. "He must recuse himself, and should have recused himself in the cases that have been heard up to now."