Don’t judge Clarence Thomas for wife Virginia’s alleged ‘insurrection’ acts

‘We are long past the day when a wife’s opinions are assumed to be the identical as her husband’s.”

So argued Stephen Gillers, a regulation professor at New York University, in 2013. If the professor’s identify sounds acquainted, it’s as a result of he’s been cited by seemingly each main media outlet since information broke final week that Virginia Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, despatched textual content messages to Donald Trump’s White House chief of employees Mark Meadows urging him to battle the 2020 election outcomes.

The Los Angeles Times described Mr. Gillers as a “judicial ethics scholar,” and The New York Times dubbed him “one of the nation’s foremost legal-ethics experts.” But it seems that the professor’s ethics, like these of quite a lot of liberal Democrats nowadays, are situational. In 2013 he was defending a choice by late Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to not recuse himself from a case involving the American Civil Liberties Union, though Reinhart’s wife, Ramona Ripston, had served as government director of the ACLU for Southern ­California.

“Ms. Ripston’s opinions, views and public pronouncements of support for the district court opinion . . . do not trigger any reasonable basis to question Judge Reinhardt’s ability to honor his oath of office,” asserted a friend-of-the-court transient on behalf of Mr. Gillers and 4 others. “A contrary outcome would deem a judge’s spouse unable to hold any position of advocacy, creating what amounts to a marriage ­penalty.”

Reinhardt had a well-earned popularity as one of the vital liberal judges on one of many nation’s most liberal appellate courts. Which would possibly clarify why Mr. Gillers and his partisan allies have modified their tune. “ ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not an acceptable strategy for the Thomases’ marriage,” he’s now telling reporters. “Both have crossed a line and deserve no benefit of the doubt.”

Circuit Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt listens to arguments during a hearing in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Judge Reinhard
Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt’s wife was an government director of an ACLU chapter.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg, Pool, File

To anybody not sporting ideological blinders, Justice Thomas and his wife are simply as deserving of the good thing about the doubt as Reinhardt and his wife had been. And there are different examples. Judge Cornelia Pillard of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is married to David Cole, nationwide authorized director of the ACLU. The husband of Alice Batchelder, a judge on the Sixth Circuit, served as speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. Marjorie Rendell was an appellate judge when her husband, Ed, served as governor of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. When these judges needed to recuse themselves from a case on account of a battle of curiosity, they had been trusted to take action.

Facts and fiction

Justice Thomas’ critics don’t wish to maintain him to a better normal a lot as a special normal. Major instances involving abortion, gun management, affirmative motion and spiritual liberty are on the excessive courtroom’s docket this 12 months. The left’s aim is to decrease his affect — and by extension the affect of the courtroom’s conservative wing. And for the reason that goal is Justice Thomas, who has been driving his ideological opponents batty for the previous 30 years, the considering is that something goes.

Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sits with his wife and conservative activist Virginia Thomas while he waits to speak at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has earned the good thing about the doubt because the longest-serving member of the courtroom.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas is accused of demanding former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows of overturning the 2020 presidential election results.
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas is accused of demanding former White House chief of employees Mark Meadows try to overturn the 2020 presidential election outcomes.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

“The facts are clear here,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar advised ABC News on Sunday. “You have the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice advocating for an insurrection.” No, these aren’t the info, except the senator is aware of one thing that the remainder of us don’t. There has been no proof made public that Mrs. Thomas known as for violence or had something to do with the ransacking of the Capitol by Trump supporters. Lumping her in with those that did is a smear. All we all know is that she urged Mr. Meadows to “stand firm” in opposition to what she believed was an election “heist.” If a case comes earlier than the courtroom that includes Mrs. Thomas or her actions, Justice Thomas can decide about recusal at the moment.

Perhaps extra disturbingly, Ms. Klobuchar, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, appeared like she was threatening Chief Justice John Roberts to do the bidding of her fellow Democrats in Congress. “All I hear is silence from the Supreme Court right now, and that better change in the coming week,” she mentioned. “Not only should [Justice Thomas] recuse himself, but this Supreme Court badly needs ethics rules.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar is sparking a witch hunt in opposition to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas allegedly despatched textual content messages to former White House chief of employees Mark Meadows on Nov. 10, 2020.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

The chief justice has made no secret that he cares deeply in regards to the popularity of the courtroom. One option to harm that popularity could be to bend to the politics and passions of the day in the way in which that individuals like Ms. Klobuchar are suggesting.

Clarence Thomas is the longest-serving member of the courtroom and has been constant in his jurisprudence over the many years. We belief judges to behave professionally and with integrity with regards to recusal selections, and Justice Thomas has earned our belief.

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