Senate Democrats are applying pressure on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from a hypothetical case that has not yet materialized.
This week, special counsel Jack Smith submitted a petition to the Supreme Court, seeking to bypass the D.C. Appeals Court and determine whether former President Donald Trump enjoys immunity from federal prosecution in a potential election interference case. While the justices have indicated they will consider this request, they have not granted a review yet.
Nevertheless, despite the Supreme Court’s non-action, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D) is already attempting to influence the case’s outcome.
Durbin is urging Thomas to recuse himself from the hypothetical case based on the alleged beliefs of his wife, Ginni Thomas, who purportedly holds the belief that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Durbin argues that the alleged beliefs of Thomas’ spouse constitute a conflict of interest for the justice.
“In the interests of justice, he should recuse himself, given the numerous unanswered questions about the justice’s relationship with the Trump administration,” Durbin stated, as reported by The Hill.
Durbin also claimed that “there has been enough information raised about Mr. Thomas and his spouse” to justify his recusal.
Notably, Durbin did not present any evidence to demonstrate that Thomas is compromised or that he would render an unfair judgment if the court grants review. Democrats appear to be insinuating that Thomas cannot separate his wife’s political views from his own legal judgment.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) took it a step further, suggesting that any justice with whom Thomas has discussed his wife’s “involvement” in the aftermath of the 2020 election “may have an improper interest” in the case, according to The Hill.
However, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered a counterpoint, condemning Democrats for demanding Thomas’ preemptive recusal.
“They are not the ones to make this judgment call, nor am I aware of any current standard by which he should be required to recuse himself in this case. That is absurd,” Lee stated.
Democrats are particularly concerned about the potential outcome of a Supreme Court ruling in the case. If the court were to rule in Trump’s favor, it could potentially undermine Smith’s election interference case and the case of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D).