Pelosi responds to calls for Justice Clarence Thomas to resign from Supreme Court

Jan. 6 committee wants to question Ginni Thomas

Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram has the latest on the Jan. 6 committee wanting to talk to the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas about text messages sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stopped short of calling for the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, but said his wife’s newly released text messages on efforts to keep former President Trump in office show the need to have a “code of ethics” for the highest court of the land. 

“If your wife is an admitted and proud contributor to a coup of our country, maybe you should weigh that in your ethical standards,” Pelosi said Thursday during a Capitol news conference on whether Thomas should recuse himself on cases related to the 2020 election or Capitol riot.

Several Democrats – including New York’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – have called for Thomas to resign or be impeached for not recusing himself from cases related to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, after it was revealed that wife Virginia (Ginni) Thomas sent text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows urging him to challenge Trump‘s 2020 election loss.

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Feb. 23, 2017.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Asked at her weekly news conference Thursday whether Thomas should resign, Pelosi said she won’t say that but added: “I don’t think he should have ever been appointed.” 

At the very least, Democrats want Thomas to recuse himself from cases regarding the Jan. 6 riot after it was revealed that his wife – a conservative activist – shared 29 text messages with then-chief of staff Mark Meadows during the period when Trump and his allies were pledging to fight to the Supreme Court to overturn the November 2020 election results. 

On Nov.10 after news organizations declared Biden the winner, Thomas texted Meadows: “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.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivers a keynote speech during a dedication of Georgia’s new Nathan Deal Judicial Center in Atlanta, Feb. 11, 2020.
(AP Photo/John Amis, File)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday he believes Justice Thomas should recuse himself from cases related to the events of Jan. 6 and also called for ethics reforms.

“I do think he should recuse himself,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday during a news conference. “The information we know right now raises serious questions about how close Justice Thomas and his wife were to the planning and execution of the insurrection.”

Pelosi said she’s interested in holding a congressional hearing on enacting Supreme Court ethics soon. Democrats’ sweeping voting reform legislation known as H.R.1 included creating a code of ethics for the Supreme Court. Though that legislation died in the Senate, Pelosi talked of reviving that part of the bill in the wake of Thomas’ texts. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 30, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“They have no code of ethics,” Pelosi said. 

“They’re making judgments about the air we breathe and everything else. And we don’t even know what their ethical standard is.”

Under federal statute, judges shall disqualify themselves in any proceeding in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Critics have slammed Thomas’ decision to remain on cases related to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 riot.

Meanwhile, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot wants to call Ginni Thomas to testify. 

Clarence Thomas, 73, is the longest-serving justice on the court. He was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to succeed Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first Black justice. Thomas recently was in the hospital for a week for treatment of an infection with “flu-like symptoms.”

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Kyle Morris contributed to this report. 

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