Virginia Thomas, wife of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, forms tea party group. Virginia Thomas told a recent panel “I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you.” She specifically went on to say that she was going to work against Obama’s “hard-left agenda.” It is an association that will likely add to a further patina of politics surrounding the Court, which just ruled in favor of conservative groups in the Citizens United case. I will be discussing this story tonight on Countdown.
There is, of course, no limitation on the spouses of justices in terms of political activities. However, historically spouses have avoided such entanglements in deference to the neutral role that their spouses are expected to perform on the Court. The involvement in such a raw political organization is, well, injudicious.
I did not share the outrage of some when Virginia Thomas worked for Heritage Foundation. Working for an conservative legal group is a bit different from working in a political organization committed to fighting the President’s policies. Once again, she is well within her rights to do so, but most spouses have avoided such a high-profile political role. This why it is so rare to ever hear of a controversy involving a justice’s spouse.
Worse yet, her group will be scoring members of Congress and accepting donations from corporations. This could raise recusal issues in future cases for Clarence Thomas, but he is unlikely to see his wife’s involvement as a recusal matter unless her group is directly involved in a case.
Ironically, Thomas said he does not attend the State of the Union because it is to “partisan.” He will not be married to one such partisan whose group will actively seek to oppose the President and democratic members.
For the Thomas story, click here.