Justice Thomas ally says media, Dems are trying to push him to recuse himself before Trump ballot arguments


A close friend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas believes it’s absurd that Democrats and media members are trying to pressure him to recuse himself from deciding whether former President Trump should be removed from Colorado’s primary ballot. 

“The Democrats are inventing recusal standards in an effort to shrink the Court to have their preferred Justices decide cases,” Mark Paoletta told Fox News Digital

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about whether the Colorado Supreme Court erred in ordering Trump to be excluded from the 2024 presidential primary ballot, when it cited the 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution for his actions surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Paoletta, who co-authored the book “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” is a longtime friend of Thomas and worked on his 1991 confirmation. He also served as his wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas’ lawyer during the Jan. 6 investigation, and now the attorney is peeved that Democrats want Justice Thomas to recuse himself because of his wife. 

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Clarence and Ginni Thomas laugh

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. ((Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images))

The Washington Post published a story on Tuesday headlined, “Some want Justice Thomas to skip Trump’s ballot case. He doesn’t plan to,” which examined “why the justices recuse themselves and the arguments for and against Thomas doing so.”

“Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about Thomas’s ability to remain impartial in this and several other Jan. 6-related cases given the involvement of his wife, Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, in the movement to overturn the 2020 election results. The ballot disqualification case, which is likely to be decided quickly, is a test of the court’s recently released code of conduct and recusal guidelines,” Washington Post researcher Tobi Raji wrote. 

The Post detailed SCOTUS’s recently adopted ethics code that asks justices to step aside if their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned, that is, where an unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all relevant circumstances would doubt that the Justice could fairly discharge his or her duties.”

The Post then pointed out that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from two cases involving Harvard University because she previously served on the school’s board. 

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Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Prince Warhol

A close friend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas believes it’s absurd that Democrats and media members are trying to pressure him to recuse himself. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“However, the decision to recuse is up to the individual justice,” the Post noted before diving into Ginni Thomas’ Jan. 6 involvement. 

“Ginni Thomas pressed the Trump White House and lawmakers to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, exchanging more than two dozen text messages with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after the vote,” the Post wrote. “Thomas also attended the Jan. 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally before the Capitol attack.”

The Post then quoted Paoletta, who told the paper that, “As there is no basis whatsoever for Justice Thomas to recuse from Trump v. Anderson, Justice Thomas has a duty to sit on this case.” 

However, Paoletta told Fox News Digital that he sent the Post a lengthy explanation of why he feels this way but only a small portion of his statement was included and his detailed examples were left out. Paoletta said it’s “not surprising” that the Post used a small portion of his comments while giving “a lot of space to the other side.” 

The Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The Post detailed that seven Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Thomas last month urging him to recuse himself from the case, “citing dwindling public confidence in the Supreme Court.” 

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Mark Paoletta, Clarence Thomas laugh

Mark Paoletta, who co-authored “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in his own words,” is a longtime friend of Justice Thomas and worked on his 1991 confirmation.  (Mark Paoletta)

Berkeley Judicial Institute executive director Jeremy Fogel, who told the Post that Thomas “doesn’t necessarily need to recuse,” added that Ginni Thomas’s involvement “raises the question of whether he can fairly assess the gravity of the conduct that President Trump is accused of.” 

ABC News published a similar story on Tuesday, headlined “Should Justice Thomas recuse in 14th Amendment case because of wife’s Jan. 6 role?”

ABC News reporter Devin Dwyer and producer Patty See wrote that “leading legal ethics experts say the activities of Ginni Thomas pose a clear conflict of interest for her husband” before putting a spotlight on eight Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who called for Justice Thomas to sit out the case. 

Dwyer and See also spoke with a defender of Justice Thomas, and pointed out that Ginni Thomas has not been charged with any crimes.

“Still, a majority of Americans – 52% in a Quinnipiac University poll – believe Justice Thomas should sit out cases involving the 2020 election. Nearly as many, 47%, believe his wife’s political activities pose a unique ethical problem,” they wrote. 

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Paoletta said spouses are entitled to express an opinion on matters that may come before the Court, but those opinions do not constitute an “interest” that requires recusal.

“Ginni Thomas’s activities were so minimal that the January 6 Committee did not even mention her once in any hearings or in its 845-page final report,” Paoletta said. 

“The Democrats’ made-up double standards for recusal are outrageous and hypocritical,” he continued. “Their leading judicial ethics experts… filed a brief supporting liberal federal appellate Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s decision to not recuse from an appeal that came before him on a challenge to California’s same-sex marriage ban even though his wife’s ACLU chapter joined two amicus briefs in the district court proceeding, and she publicly opposed the ban he was considering.” 

Indeed, Judge Reinhardt refused to recuse himself from the 2010 case despite his wife’s involvement. 

“In contrast to Judge Reinhardt’s wife’s organization filing a brief on the constitutionality of the issue before the court, Ginni Thomas has no connection whatsoever to the issues in this case. There is no basis for Justice Thomas to recuse because of his wife’s views or activities. This is not even a close call,” Paoletta said. 

Paoletta also said “Justice Ginsburg trashed candidate Trump regarding his decision to not release his taxes during 2016 campaign, yet she did not recuse from 2020 case Trump v. Mazars, in which Trump challenged a congressional subpoena to produce his taxes.”

“Given her previous comments, it’s not surprising Ginsburg voted against him. But no one criticized her for not recusing,” Paoletta said. “There was a much stronger case for her to recuse than for Thomas to recuse, yet there were no calls from the left for her recusal.”

Paoletta also said Ginsburg failed to recuse herself when the law firm where her husband practiced appeared before the Supreme Court, but nobody seemed to mind. 

Trump has said he believes the Supreme Court will rule in his favor by keeping him on 2024 primary ballots across the nation despite challenges. 

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Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 



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