Several Democrats in the House are urging Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from the case involving whether former President Donald Trump is immune from prosecution.
In a letter Monday, the House Democrats “strongly implore you to exercise your discretion and recuse yourself from this and any other decisions in the case of United States v. Trump,” the Democrats, including Representatives Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), wrote in the statement.
The letter added that “if you want to show the American people that the Supreme Court’s recent Code of Conduct is worth more than the paper it is written on, you must do the honorable thing and recuse yourself from any decisions in the case.” Senate Democrats sent a similar letter to Justice Thomas last week, making similar demands.
Last month, the Supreme Court gave the green light to a code of ethics. In this code, justices commit to recusing themselves from a case when “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
The code of ethics also states that “a Justice should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the Justice’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
This includes situations where a justice is aware that their spouse has “an interest that could be substantially affected” by the decision or could serve as a material witness, according to the Democratic lawmakers.
They allege that Justice Thomas’s wife, Ginni, is heavily involved in Republican political circles and attended a Trump rally after the 2020 election.
During her congressional testimony, Ms. Thomas stated in September 2022 that she was “certain I never spoke with [Justice Thomas] about any of the challenges to the 2020 election, as I was not involved in those challenges in any way.”
Ms. Thomas asserted that the Supreme Court justice had no knowledge of the text messages she shared with former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. She also claimed that the House Jan. 6 sub-committee had “leaked them to the press while my husband was in a hospital bed fighting an infection.”
The letter came approximately one week after special counsel Jack Smith requested the Supreme Court to clarify “whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin.” The court accepted the case, establishing a December 20 deadline for President Trump’s legal team to submit their response.
Justice Thomas, appointed by former President George H.W. Bush, and the court have not released public statements regarding the letters.
In October, Justice Thomas opted not to participate in the court’s decision not to hear a case related to former Trump attorney John Eastman. It’s worth noting that Mr. Eastman had earlier worked as a clerk for Justice Thomas.
One of the four criminal cases confronting President Trump as he once more vies for the White House is challenging a federal judge’s recent decision.
The judge rejected the former president’s attempt to dismiss the case, arguing that he cannot be prosecuted for official actions taken during his presidency.
Federal prosecutors have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to skip the appeals court and promptly decide on the immunity claim. They argued that the former president’s appeals are attempts to delay the trial until after next year’s election.
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