In Rare Move, Thomas Recuses Himself From Case

Move comes as Supreme Court denies a request from John Eastman, a former Thomas clerk
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2023 12:06 PM CDT
Thomas Recuses Himself From Jan. 6 Case
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is seen at the University of Texas at Tyler Cowan Center on Sept. 16, 2014.   (AP Photo/Tyler Morning Telegraph, Herb Nygren Jr., File)

Clarence Thomas took the rare step of recusing himself from a case on Monday, though it had nothing to do with his recent controversy of ties to high-powered conservative friends. Instead, the case involved former Donald Trump attorney John Eastman, who also formerly clerked for Thomas, reports the Hill. The court, sans Thomas, denied Eastman's request to undo lower court rulings "that described him as a linchpin in former President Donald Trump's bid to subvert the 2020 election," per Politico. Thomas, as is customary for the court, didn't explain his reason for recusing himself, notes NBC News.

In addition to clerking for Thomas years ago, Eastman has another tie to the justice: Thomas' wife, Ginni, had emailed Eastman in the wake of the election urging him to find a way to reverse it, per the Hill. Eastman also signed a public letter of support on behalf of the justice when the aforementioned controversy over Thomas' friends surfaced, notes NBC. Eastman wanted the Supreme Court to vacate rulings that permitted his emails to end up in the hands of the House committee that investigated the Capitol riot, reports the Messenger. How Politico explains the impact of the court's Monday decision: It "essentially enshrines rulings by a federal district judge in California that found Eastman's emails contained evidence of a likely crime related to Trump's efforts." (More Clarence Thomas stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.