Greenfield: The Lynching of Justice Clarence Thomas
Even as Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized, a leftist lynch mob rallied on social media calling for his impeachment or death. They weren’t especially picky about which one it would be.
The same radical faction championing Biden’s selection of a black woman for the Supreme Court as a groundbreaking step forward and berating Republicans for refusing to support her were simultaneously demanding that the only sitting black justice on the court step down.
The calls for Thomas’ death are based on pure unadulterated hatred. And so are the calls for his impeachment. None of them have even the faintest basis in anything resembling the law.
The Women’s March called for the impeachment of Justice Thomas because his wife, Ginni, had advocated against election fraud. Or as the racist leftist hate group put it, “The revelations that Ginni Thomas advocated for the overthrow of our democracy are disqualifying — not just for her as a human being of any decency, but for her husband.”
A “human being of any decency” wouldn’t be going after a judge by targeting his wife.
The only possible reason for disqualifying Thomas would be the presumption that men are obligated to control their wives. And prevent them from expressing political views in public.
Is this the exciting new feminist position that the Women’s March would like to debut?
Would any of the great minds at the Women’s March like to contemplate the legal implications of creating a male guardianship for women of the kind that might have existed in the 18th century?
Justice Breyer’s wife is a member of the English nobility, it doesn’t mean he answers to the Queen.
Judges whose spouses have an “interest” in a case are obligated to recuse themselves from it. But having political views about a national issue is not the same thing as having an “interest” in it. I doubt there’s a single judicial spouse who didn’t have an opinion on the 2020 election. And many of them may have signed petitions, posted comments, or otherwise urged an outcome.
Or participated in the Women’s March attacking the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election.
That’s political activism, it’s not an “interest”.
The New York Times and the New Yorker cited a federal law stating that judges must rescue themselves if their spouses have “an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.” A point of view is not an interest. If it were, there could be no married judges.
Nevertheless law professor Lawrence Tribe tweeted, “That clearly applied here.” How?
“By writing to Meadows, who was chief of staff and active in the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, she joined the team resisting the results of the election,” Stephen Gillers, an NYU prof quoted by the New York Times, convolutedly argued. “She made herself part of the team and so she has an interest in the decisions of the court that could affect Trump’s goal of reversing the results.”
Millions of Americans have phoned, sent letters and emails to members of Congress advocating particular policies. Did they all join the “team” of every single public official whom they contacted? Should any judges they’re married to have to recuse themselves from those cases?
Had Ginni Thomas been formally employed by the Trump team, it would be another story. Instead she was an activist urging members of the team to do everything they possibly could.
It doesn’t make her a member of the team.
If that weren’t absurd enough, both media outlets have cited a law stating that “any justice, judge or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Is there any federal judge, appointed as part of a partisan process, whose impartiality can’t be reasonably questioned in partisan cases?
As usual the Left has invented a standard that it doesn’t intend to apply in any other cases. Certainly not in any cases where it would inhibit its stable of unconstitutional judicial activists.
“What did Justice Clarence Thomas know, and when did he know it?” a New York Times op-ed demanded. The author, Jesse Wegman, a Times editor, presumably knows the political views of his wife, Kyra, and also, presumably, he writes his own views in his columns. Not hers.
This isn’t a complicated concept for any functional adult.
Supreme Court justices are aware of the storm of controversy over the cases in front of them. They’re expected to follow the law and rule accordingly without taking into account the views of family members, friends, and New York Times editors. That’s what they do for a living.
Thomas married Ginni in 1987. By then he was nearly 40 years old and had worked as a lawyer, a prosecutor, and as a civil rights official in the Reagan administration. He had developed his own point of view on the world. A unique one as testified by his rulings over the years.
Leftists and their media would like us to believe that the only reason Justice Thomas believes anything or rules on anything is because his white wife tells him to do it. That’s stupidly racist.
Even those who violently hate Thomas ought to be able to admit that he has a developed judicial philosophy and that his rulings reflect that unique worldview. The idea that a man who has defied expectations throughout his life, who has persevered despite being repeatedly hit with every racial slur in the book, is just following his wife’s lead is dumb beyond belief.
And yet this is the argument that the lynch mob targeting Justice Thomas is going with.
After all the fury over his wife’s activism, what does this amount to in Justice Thomas’ rulings? Where is the evidence of any conflict of interest or any violation of the law? It doesn’t exist.
The New York Times noted that “Justices Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.” responded to the Supreme Court rejecting an election lawsuit by Texas by “issuing a brief statement suggesting the majority had acted too soon in shutting the case down.” Actually Alito wrote the dissent, with Thomas joining him, on procedural grounds. At the time the dissent was issued, the media and its legal experts argued that it was not a ruling on the election, but on jurisdictional standing.
The paper also misleadingly notes that, “Justice Thomas addressed election fraud in a dissent from the Supreme Court’s decision to turn away a challenge to Pennsylvania’s voting procedures.” The Supreme Court had previously deadlocked several times over the issue with previous dissents by Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas, and the Thomas dissent highlighted by the paper had focused on the importance of providing “clear rules for future elections.”
The media and its legal experts, shoddy as they may be, know all this perfectly well. They know that the paper is deliberately misrepresenting these cases in order to single out Thomas.
And that there’s no basis for doing so.
Thomas wrote as one of the court’s two leading conservatives, along with Alito, and there was nothing unique in his dissents that deviated from his judicial philosophy. Using his wife to attack him is the despicable tactic of a ruthless totalitarian movement with no shred of decency.
Having run out of any credible legal arguments, the lynch mob once again borrows the familiar logic of Russiagate to argue that their smear campaign proves that Thomas must recuse.
“Judging by the nature of the text messages and the uproar over them, that provision alone is enough to require Justice Thomas’s recusal, legal experts said,” the New York Times argued.
Since the New York Times and its media partners are the source of the “uproar”, conservative judges would have to recuse every time lefties launch a vocal smear campaign against them.
That’s using the media as a heckler’s veto to bar conservative judges from cases.
And that’s what this is really about.