A number of Democrats blasted Justice Clarence Thomas for not recusing himself from a Supreme Court case over former President Trump’s ballot eligibility under the 14th Amendment.
The Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over whether states have the authority to disqualify candidates from running for office, more than a month after Colorado decided to boot Trump from the ballot under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
Thomas asked the first question in the hearing, questioning Trump’s lawyer over whether the 14th Amendment is “self-executing,” meaning it can be applied without explicit action from Congress.
In the days leading up to the hearing and on Thursday, Democrats called for Thomas to recuse himself from the case. Many of them cited the outspoken support of the justice’s wife, Ginni Thomas, for Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen as a reason he should recuse himself.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for Thomas to recuse himself on Tuesday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying, “Given questions surrounding his wife’s involvement, Justice Thomas should recuse himself so there’s no question of bias.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats also posted a video of Durbin speaking to “ABC News Live Prime.”
“I’m afraid Justice Thomas, through his family, has crossed a line. He should recuse himself, so there is no question of bias in his decision,” he said.
On Thursday, several Democrats criticized the justice for not doing so.
Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) pointed out that Thomas recused himself from a case that was connected to the events of Jan. 6 and said he should have done the same for the ballot eligibility case.
“Having recused from a prior case related to Jan 6 due to his wife’s involvement, Justice Thomas’s participation in Trump’s ballot case is a shocking and intentional violation of his ethical obligations. Clarence Thomas is not above the law. This is a true crisis at the Court,” Goldman posted Thursday on X.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) claimed Thomas’s wife “conspired to help” Trump and called on Thomas to resign in a post on X.
Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) reflected on her time practicing law while taking aim at the Supreme Court, suggesting Trump’s case was already decided before the justices heard the arguments.
“When I practiced law, I’d walk into certain courts knowing that the Judge had decided the case before I ever laid out my argument. Today, I have a similar sinking feeling about the oral arguments before the Supreme Court,” she wrote on X.
“I mean, is Clarence Thomas able to accept the facts as determined by the lower courts that Trump did engage in an insurrection? Is he able to accept that that means that his wife doesn’t have clean hands? Overall, Is he able to have a clear mind on this issue when his wife has muddied it up so much?” she continued.
Norman Ornstein, a political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said Thomas was the “most corrupt judge ever” because he did not recuse himself.