Justice Clarence Thomas ‘should resign’: Is AOC right given his wife’s Jan. 6 texts?
- Clarence Thomas has served on the US Supreme Court as an associate justice since being appointed on October 23, 1991 by President George H W Bush.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, serves as New York’s representative for the 14th congressional district.
- On March 28, 2022, AOC called for Justice Thomas to resign asserting, “If not, his failure to disclose income from right-wing organizations, recuse himself from matters involving his wife, and his vote to block the Jan 6th commission from key information must be investigated and could serve as grounds for impeachment.”
- In a letter to Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and Justice Thomas, two dozen congressional democrats requested “a written explanation for his failure to recuse himself” in relation to the 2020 election and Jan. 6 attack, as well as a binding Code of Conduct.
- A 2021 YouGov poll found that Clarence Thomas had a 37% approval rating, the highest of the other SCOTUS justices. Democrats favored Sonia Sotomayor with a 63% rating, while Republicans had the highest opinion of Clarence Thomas (59%).
Recent and partisan calls for the impeachment of SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas because of his wife's text messages from the time of claims of election fraud from President Trump is an irrational and outsized response coming from these prominent Democrats.
The January 6th committee still has not uncovered the entire story behind the events of that day. There are many unknowns surrounding January 6th, such as why DC leadership gave capitol police 'stand down' orders. Congress would be wise to wait for all the facts before taking any action. Having Thomas's wife testify at a hearing over these events, as the January 6th committee is considering, is a good way to invite clarity in gathering these much-needed facts.
Likewise, Thomas's wife is an independent civilian who lives in a constitutional republic where she has the freedom to exercise her first amendment rights. No one has shown that she has committed a crime or initiated an insurrection against the US government. Spouses of US officials are not required to align 100% with their partner's thinking; everyone has the right to think and act independently. Thomas's wife has maintained that she does not involve herself in her husband's work and does not require permission from him to speak or think. And while the Thomases share the same principles and aspirations for America, both have their separate careers, opinions, and ideas.
Even president Biden said Thomas should not recuse himself yet but wait for the judgment from the Jan. 6th committee and the Justice Department. If politicians were asked to resign because of what their partner said/did, there soon would be no government. First and foremost, Virginia Thomas is a private citizen, and what she says or does doesn't automatically mean Justice Thomas is responsible, implicated, or involved.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's failure to recuse himself from matters involving his wife is troublesome. Either it shows he lacks the good judgment to steer clear of potential conflicts of interest, or he doesn't believe this type of impartiality is important. Either way, his conduct and understanding of true impartial justice are unacceptable at the highest court in the land. While it is acceptable for Thomas's wife to hold views independent of Justice Thomas, it is not acceptable for him to be ruling on cases where her text messages may be submitted as evidence. Further, as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has pointed out, the justice has failed to disclose income from right-wing organizations earned by his wife, potentially making him biased toward these groups. Interestingly, Thomas was the only justice to vote against requiring the National Archives to submit Trump Administration documents for review by the House January 6th Committee.
Unfortunately, most Americans have recently come to view the Supreme Court as increasingly partisan, which is a fundamental danger to our republic. Justice Thomas has potentially done great harm to the perception that the court is no longer a neutral arbiter of the law. Equal justice under the law is a primary right of every American and a cornerstone of our democracy. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right to demand the resignation or impeachment of Justice Thomas for his role in tainting this venerable institution. His removal from office would demonstrate to the public that the reputation and impartiality of the court supersede personal belief and party affiliation.