A House panel is gearing up to hold an official hearing on the trove of text messages sent by right-wing activist Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows leading up to the Capitol riot.
The hearing is set to be conducted on Wednesday, according to The Hill, which obtained copies of a related memo sent by Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., the chairman of the House Judiciary courts subcommittee. The memo, distributed by members of the committee, reportedly details the code of conduct expected to be upheld by judges outside the courtroom as well as the procedures that would be involved in impeachment proceedings for a Supreme Court justice.
The hearing comes amid intense public scrutiny of Ginni Thomas' role attempting to overturn the 2020 election. Back in February, The New York Times revealed that Ginni Thomas helped draft a scheme to reverse the election as part of her work with the conservative Council for National Policy. She also repeatedly urged Meadows via text to ramp up Donald Trump's baseless theory of election election fraud, according to The Washington Post.
"Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!," she wrote to him in November 2020. "You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America's constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History."
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Numerous ethics experts and dozens of lawmakers have expressed concerns that Clarence Thomas did not recuse himself from multiple cases that his wife lobbies on. In one case, Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter on a decision that prevented the former president from blocking Congress' access to January 6 records.
In March, the select committee investigating the insurrection opened a formal probe into Ginni Thomas' text exchanges with Meadows.
Clarence Thomas' impeachment would be relatively unprecedented. Only one Supreme Court justice, Abe Fortas in 1969, has ever resigned for breaching the court's code of conduct. In the past, wrote Johnson, "threats or inquiries of impeachment as a means of regulating the conduct of Supreme Court justices have had varying effects."
Still, Johnson's memo did note that the idea for a heightened ethical standard for the Supreme Court has become more popular "following the reporting about text messages between the spouse of an associate justice and the then-White House Chief of Staff."
"The Supreme Court has long operated as though it were above the law. But, Justice Clarence Thomas' refusal to recuse himself from cases surrounding January 6th, despite his wife's involvement, raises serious ethical — and legal — alarm bells," Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., vice chair of the House Judiciary courts subcommittee, told The Hill. "The need for strong, enforceable ethics laws is clearer than ever. We have to do more to hold the Court accountable and restore public trust through a binding code of ethics and recusal."