Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, political activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, certainly advanced bizarre conspiracy theories in her text messages to Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, urging him to resist certification of the 2020 election results (“No kid gloves: Jan. 6 committee must subpoena Ginni Thomas. Now.”) Nothing in the hysterical text messages, however, suggests she inspired, controlled, or even participated in the rioting at the Capitol. In suggesting otherwise, the March 31 Globe editorial supports a different conspiracy theory.
If Justice Thomas was the “best friend” who “comforted” her, it would not suggest anything more than a spouse trying to calm down an agitated partner.
Judges who declined to recuse themselves on cases brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, even though their spouses were high officials in that organization, have not been the subject of adverse comment by the Globe. There may be spouses of other Supreme Court justices who fervently believe that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation. That would not be a reason for those justices to recuse themselves in the event a case on that subject reaches the court.
Finally, all judges have private political views. The obligation is for them to disregard those views and follow the law when deciding cases. Justice Thomas, over the course of 30 years on the court, has laid out his own well-defined judicial philosophy, from which he has not departed, even when his views conflicted with close allies, such as the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
The theory advanced here by the Globe seems like little more than an effort to pressure Thomas to recuse himself on the wide range of cases involving positions publicly advocated by his wife.
Brian R. Merrick
The writer is a retired first justice of the Orleans District Court.