It's no secret that Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is a staunch conservative. But now a lengthy profile by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker raises the question of whether she's so deeply embedded in conservative causes that it raises conflicts of interests in regard to her husband. The buzzy headline: “Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court?” The profile ticks off group after hard-line group with which Ginni Thomas, herself a lawyer, is affiliated. A key point:
- "Ginni Thomas has not been a named party in any case on the Court’s docket; nor is she litigating in any such case. But she has held leadership positions at conservative pressure groups that have either been involved in cases before the Court or have had members engaged in such cases."
Justices must recuse themselves from any case "in which their spouse is 'a party to the proceeding' or is 'an officer, director, or trustee' of an organization that is a party to a case," writes Mayer. So far, that has not happened, but Ginni Thomas "has edged unusually close to testing" the court's ethical policies. The story notes that she has ties to various organizers of the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6 that morphed into violence at the Capitol, and the court has been dealing with related litigation. As for the big connect-the-dots question: How much sway does Ginni Thomas have with her husband? That's between the two of them. The best Mayer can do here is cite a 1991 story in which a friend described her as "the one person (Clarence) really listens to." (Read the full profile.)