Clarence and Ginni Thomas, the Supreme Court’s Unethical “It” Couple

It seems the wider world is becoming acquainted with the ethical disaster that is the conservative power couple Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. a few weeks ago, The New Yorker published an excellent exposé by Jane Mayer of Ginni’s long history of conservative political activism on behalf of causes and even litigants who appear before her husband’s court. For people who hadn’t been following the couple for the past 30 years, the piece was a revelation.

Long-term court watchers have been aware of the problem since at least 2000. That’s when Ginni was employed vetting potential staff and cabinet appointments for George W. Bush while the result of the election was in dispute. Eventually, the Supreme Court anointed Bush the winner of that election, with Ginni’s husband, Clarence, casting one of the deciding votes in the 5-4 ruling.

But while it’s fun to dunk on Ginni, a right-wing social gadfly who has inserted herself on the wrong side of nearly every issue, it’s important to remember that the corrupt actor here is Clarence. Ginni Thomas is under no moral or ethical obligation to behave better than any other right-wing culture warrior. America doesn’t pay her salary. If she wants to spend her time fanning the flames of insurrection and drawing up enemies lists for Donald Trump, she is free to do so.

It is her husband who has been elevated to a position of public trust. It is her husband who has held himself out as an impartial arbiter of justice. It is her husband who has been morally unfit for the Supreme Court every single day he’s been on it, and he is the one who should be investigated and called on to answer for his ethical failings.

A report last week in political that hints at secret correspondence between the Thomases and Florida Governor and Covid pitchman Ron DeSantis illustrates why it is ultimately Clarence who is the ethical structure fire in this relationship. According to the website, documents turned over to a government watchdog group include an e-mail from Ginni to DeSantis. In it, she is trying to get him to speak to a group of “conservative patriots” (whatever that means) and she needs to remind DeSantis who she is. She tells him that she’s interviewed him before, saw him at a state dinner, and “my husband has been in contact with him too on various things of late.”

It’s an interesting email. On the surface, it sounds like Ginni is trying to get DeSantis to do what she wants with the age-old “Do you know who my spouse is?” plot It’s worked for her before. Indeed, in Mayer’s piece, she relates a story in which Trump gave Ginni an audience to present her enemies list, and Trump apparently said that he would never have met with her but for the fact her husband sits on the Supreme Court. It’s gross and , frankly, pathetic, but I’m sure a version of that e-mail is sent around Washington, DC, roughly 100 times an hour.

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