Ginni Thomas insists that she and her husband operate in “separate professional lanes,” but those lanes in fact merge with notable frequency.
February 22, 2022

Oh look, the New York Times has finally deigned to notice that the wife of a Supreme Court justice is deeply embedded in a lot of extremist conservative movements, including the fantasy that the election was stolen from Donald Trump.

Ginni Thomas insists, in her council biography, that she and her husband operate in “separate professional lanes,” but those lanes in fact merge with notable frequency. For the three decades he has sat on the Supreme Court, they have worked in tandem from the bench and the political trenches to take aim at targets like Roe v. Wade and affirmative action. Together they believe that “America is in a vicious battle for its founding principles,” as Ginni Thomas has put it. Her views, once seen as on the fringe, have come to dominate the Republican Party. And with Trump’s three appointments reshaping the Supreme Court, her husband finds himself at the center of a new conservative majority poised to shake the foundations of settled law. In a nation freighted with division and upheaval, the Thomases have found their moment.

This article draws on hours of recordings and internal documents from groups affiliated with the Thomases; dozens of interviews with the Thomases’ classmates, friends, colleagues and critics, as well as more than a dozen Trump White House aides and supporters and some of Justice Thomas’s former clerks; and an archive of Council for National Policy videos and internal documents provided by an academic researcher in Australia, Brent Allpress.

The reporting uncovered new details on the Thomases’ ascent: how Trump courted Justice Thomas; how Ginni Thomas used that courtship to gain access to the Oval Office, where her insistent policy and personnel suggestions so aggravated aides that one called her a “wrecking ball” while others put together an opposition-research-style report on her that was obtained by The Times; and the extent to which Justice Thomas flouted judicial-ethics guidance by participating in events hosted by conservative organizations with matters before the court. Those organizations showered the couple with accolades and, in at least one case, used their appearances to attract event fees, donations and new members.

Much, much more there, like the straight line we can draw from the Council for National Policy campaigns and this Clarence Thomas dissent:

The battle over the election did not land before the court as Bush v. Gore did in 2000. But in February 2021, as Trump and his associates continued pressing for state lawmakers to audit — and reverse — the 2020 election, Justice Thomas sharply dissented when a 6-to-3 majority rejected the case brought by Pennsylvania Republicans that the court had refused to take up in December. Echoing the arguments advanced by C.N.P. Action, he wrote that legislatures have the constitutional authority to determine how federal elections are held, yet in 2020, “nonlegislative officials in various States took it upon themselves to set the rules instead.”

As more publications are dragging Ginni Thomas, her group Groundswell, and her work on the Council for National Policy into the national spotlight, progressive groups like People for the American Way are working to build public pressure to put stringent ethics laws in place that actually apply to the Supreme Court (which has exempted itself from the ethics laws that apply to the rest of the federal judiciary). The unholy political alliance of Clarence and Ginni Thomas with the right wing needs a new approach to the political expression of judicial spouses. You can sign here.

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