When the wife of a U.S. Supreme Court justice is trying to help a president stay in power even though he has been voted out of office, it is painfully obvious that American democracy is in trouble. It has been well-documented that Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, tried to help keep former President Donald Trump in the White House even after he lost the 2020 election — from a series of text messages exchanged with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to her communications with pro-Trump attorney John C. Eastman. And according to reporting in the Washington Post, Ginni Thomas continued to associate with "Stop the Steal" extremists even after Joe Biden was sworn in as president on January 20, 2021.
In a report published on June 20, Post journalists Emma Brown, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Rosalind S. Helderman explain, "Two months after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to help President Donald Trump stay in office, Virginia 'Ginni' Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, attended a gathering of right-wing activists where a speaker declared to roaring applause that Trump was still the 'legitimate president,' a video recording of the event shows."
That event, which took place in Orlando, Florida on March 6, 2021, was a meeting of the group Frontliners for Liberty — and the speaker was the Rev. C.L. Bryant, a Baptist minister and far-right radio host who has also been active in FreedomWorks. Although Bryant endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, he later became an ardent supporter of Trump and the MAGA movement.
A video of the March 6, 2021 event posted on Facebook, according to the Post, shows Bryant saying, "There is a robbery that is going on in this country right now. In fact, I say it to you, and I'll say it loud and clear — and I'm not ashamed to say it. I won't bite my tongue. I do believe that Donald John Trump is the only legitimate president."
Brown, Stanley-Becker and Helderman note that Frontliners for Liberty "vaulted from obscurity to national attention last week with the disclosure that Thomas had invited pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman to speak to its members in December 2020."
"While text messages and e-mails unearthed in recent weeks have shown that Thomas was involved in those efforts before January 6," the Post reporters note, "her attendance at the Orlando gathering indicates that her alliance with election deniers continued even after Joe Biden was inaugurated. Frontliners has hosted hard-right lawmakers, insisted on strict secrecy and proclaimed that the nation's top enemy is the 'radical fascist left,' according to social media posts, court filings and interviews with several people involved in the group."
The reporters add, "One photograph from the Orlando event shows Bryant posing with Thomas. Others show Thomas wearing a name tag decorated with a yellow ribbon she and others wore saying 'Trouble Maker.'"
Frontliners for Liberty, according to the Post, has made a point of being secretive. Eastman, in a filing in May, said the group operates in a "cone of silence" — which is a "Get Smart" reference from the 1960s. The "cone of silence" was a fictional device on the 1960s television comedy "Get Smart," which famously blended slapstick humor with the espionage/secret agent genre.
Eastman quoted an e-mail from Frontliners for Liberty, which read, "We are careful about who is on the phone and who is in the room and we do not leak what happens, what is said or who is in the meeting — ever!"
Although Ginni Thomas has claimed that she keeps her work as a MAGA activist separate from her husband's work on the U.S. Supreme Court, critics of the Thomases believe that Justice Thomas is guilty of some major conflicts of interest. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City has called for Justice Thomas to either resign or be impeached, although her recommendation hasn't gotten much support from fellow Democrats.
Clarence Thomas hasn't recused himself from cases involving the 2020 election. And even though his wife has been a major anti-abortion activist, he is among the justices who joined Justice Samuel Alito in a majority draft opinion that called for overturning Roe v. Wade.