On Thursday afternoon, The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported that Virginia Thomas, a.k.a. Ginni, a.k.a. the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, “repeatedly” urged White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In more than two dozen extremely manic, conspiracy-riddled text messages, Ginni insisted that Democrats had stolen the election from Donald Trump, and that Meadows had to do something about it. It’s not an exaggeration to say that if One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had been written today, it would be about the shit Ginni Thomas sent from her phone. But it’s important not to let the sheer craziness of the messages distract from the significance here: a SCOTUS justice is married to an active conservative operative who appealed to the highest level of government in an attempt to get the results of a free and fair election overturned.

On November 5, for example, before Joe Biden was officially declared the winner, Ginni quoted a right-wing website, writing: “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.” On November 10, after news outlets projected the Democratic candidate had the electoral votes, she texted Meadows, of Trump: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…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.” Two weeks later, she told Meadows not to “cave to the elites,” and later, “I can’t see Americans swallowing the obvious fraud.” Midway through the month, she urged Meadows to make Sidney Powell—the lawyer who promoted claims like “there is a secret server that all the votes go to where they [are] manipulate[d]”—“the lead and the face” of Trump’s legal team. At one point, Ginni wrote to Meadows: “Sounds like Sidney and her team are getting inundated with evidence of fraud. Make a plan. Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.” (Ginni Thomas did not respond to multiple request for comment from the Post.)

For anyone familiar with Ginni Thomas, the idea that she would write and send a series of batshit-crazy text messages should not come as a surprise; in 2010, nearly 20 years after her husband’s confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court, Ginni left a voicemail for Anita Hill, who had decades prior told the Senate Judiciary committee that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed while he was her supervisor at the Department of Education, demanding an apology. In the message, which was left on Hill’s work phone (!), Ginni said: “Good morning, Anita Hill. It’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray on this, and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. Okay, have a good day.” Hill told The New York Times that she would not be apologizing because she told the truth all those years ago. But more on Hill and Clarence later.

The news of the Meadows messages come less than two weeks after Ginni Thomas admitted in an interview that she attended the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol, and said, of her spouse, “like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America.” (She also insisted, “But we have our own separate careers, and our own ideas and opinions too. Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work.” Which seems dubious at best.) It comes a month after The New York Times Magazine’s Danny Hakim and Jo Becker reported that Ginni sits on the board of a group that circulated a memo in November 2020 telling its members to “pressure Republican lawmakers into challenging the election results and appointing alternate slates of electors.” And it comes just over two months after The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer published a massive profile of Ginni Thomas, detailing years of work by Ginni that has ultimately made its way into Clarence’s work.

Ginni, of course, is her own person, and should be allowed to have her own opinions, however unhinged and delusional they may be. If she were married to someone else, it would be unfair to suggest that her actions affected her spouse’s ability to do his job, or that he should be held accountable for them. Except, Ginni is not married to someone else, she‘s married to a Supreme Court justice—and one who has consistently refused to recuse himself when his wife’s work has provided massive, flaming conflicts of interest for his own.

For example, despite Ginni Thomas’s obsession and active pleas to high-ranking officials to try to overturn the 2020 election, Clarence chose not to sit out Trump’s case asking the court to block the January 6 committee from obtaining documents from the National Archives concerning his actions before, during, and after the riot. Not only did he not recuse himself, but Clarence was the only justice to vote against releasing the documents. (Yes, even the three Trump-appointed justices said the House select committee should get them.) Incidentally, as The New Yorker’s Mayer tweeted on Thursday, Meadows “filed a supporting brief” in that case, after refusing to comply with a subpoena from the committee. Did Clarence know his wife’s text messages with the former White House chief of staff “were at stake,” per Mayer? Who’s to say!

Of course, the Archives situation wasn’t the first time Clarence should have declined to participate in a case due to Ginni’s work but refused not to. As Mayer reported in her piece, in 2017 and 2018, Ginni Thomas’s lobbying firm was paid more than $200,000 by the Center for Security Policy, a group led by far-right activist Frank Gaffney. In 2017, after the Supreme Court said it would hear legal challenges to Trump’s Muslim ban, Gaffney and several others filed an amicus brief with the court supporting the travel restrictions and arguing that “the challenge of Islam must be confronted.” Not only did Clarence not recuse himself, but he didn’t even mention his wife’s contract with Gaffney, despite being required to do in his annual financial disclosures. As Mayer wrote in her story:


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