Senate Democrats push Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from Jan. 6 cases

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Senate Democrats on Friday called for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any case related to the events of Jan. 6, after it was revealed that his wife sent text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows urging him to challenge Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss.

Highlighting reports of the messages between Meadows and Ginni Thomas, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released a statement claiming “Justice Thomas’ conduct on the Supreme Court looks increasingly corrupt.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., during a Senate Finance Committee hearing about youth mental health on Capitol Hill on Feb. 8, 2022 in Washington, D.C.
( Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Wyden said Thomas should “recuse himself from any case related to the January 6th investigation, and should Donald Trump run again, any case related to the 2024 election.”

“Judges are obligated to recuse themselves when their participation in a case would create even the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Wyden added. “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.”

Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas arrive at the Heritage Foundation on Oct. 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Wyden’s comments follow reports about text messages, copies of which were obtained by The Washington Post and CBS, sent between Ginni Thomas and Meadows. Prior to ending his cooperation with the investigation, those text messages, part of a larger number of documents, were turned over by Meadows to the House select committee investigating the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In one message, the Post reported that Ginni, who has been married to Justice Thomas for more than 30 years, told Meadows to “release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.”

Justice Clarence Thomas testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill March 13, 2008 in Washington, DC.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In other messages, Ginni suggested Trump should not concede the election to Joe Biden. She also called the 2020 presidential election “the greatest Heist of our History.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told CBS News on Friday that Thomas should consider “voluntarily appearing” before the Jan. 6 committee to discuss the text messages his wife sent to Meadows.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Friday it is Thomas’ decision on whether to recuse himself.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“I think Justice Thomas could make his decisions like he’s made every other time,” McCarthy said during a news conference at the House GOP retreat in Florida. “It’s his decision based upon law. If you spent any time studying the Supreme Court justice, he’s one who studies correctly, and I mean, from all the way through. If he sees it’s not upholding the Constitution, he’ll rule against it.”

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