The Corruption of Clarence and Ginni Thomas

It’s long been clear there is one set of rules for liberal Democrats and another for conservative Republicans. While Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson promised this week to recuse herself from a case involving Harvard University if she’s confirmed to the Supreme Court (she’s on one of several Harvard governing boards), Justice Clarence Thomas has for months been ruling on issues relating to Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the January 6 coup attempt—even though it’s been known that his wing nut wife was involved in planning both.

Now a gob-smacking trove of texts between Ginni Thomas and former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows shows not only the extent of her involvement in election subversion, and the access she had to the White House, but also the extent to which she lives on the far-right fringe, sharing with Meadows crazy QAnon-infused theories and other nonsense. This news comes two days after Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee tried to tar Jackson with QAnon lunacy by painting her as soft on pedophiles in her sentencing decisions during two grueling and surreal days of confirmation hearings. So, to be fair to Ginni Thomas, maybe it’s not the fringe anymore; her advocacy has helped move hateful and dangerous conspiracies into the GOP mainstream.

Oh, and where the hell has Clarence Thomas been? The justice was hospitalized for an “infection” Sunday night and expected to be released Tuesday. He apparently was not, but the court refused to tell the public where he was until Friday, when it revealed he had just been released. No word on what the “infection” is, or what, or when Thomas will get back to work.

We’ve long known about Ginni Thomas’s entanglement with a spectrum of far-right organizations; The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer laid a lot of it out earlier this year, and my colleague Elie Mystal also dissected the Clarence-Ginni outrages. But there’s never been evidence as damning as her messages to Meadows, and his admiring replies.

Thomas’s texts were among 2,320 Meadows gave to the House January 6 Committee before he decided not to cooperate. We’ve seen other tantalizing missives to Meadows, from Fox News anchors and even Donald J. Trump Jr., trying to get him to get Trump to tell the armed insurrectionists to stop their bloody Capitol rampage. But the Thomas correspondence is in a special category. (Required journalistic credit-giving here: CNN first reported the existence of the Thomas-Meadows texts, but Bob Woodward and Robert Costa had the most thorough early account, in The Washington Post.)

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