IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

House Democrats urge Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from Trump Colorado ballot case

The former president has asked the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling in Colorado that he is ineligible to appear on the state primary ballot because of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Clarence Thomas attends the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett on the South Lawn of the White House
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at the White House in October 2020.Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images file

A group of House Democrats on Thursday called on conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from a case involving former President Donald Trump's eligibility to appear on Colorado's Republican primary ballot.

Trump on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to overturn a Colorado court ruling last month that disqualified him from appearing on the ballot over his conduct leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The former president’s appeal came after the state’s Republican Party filed its own appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court's decision. The state court put its ruling on hold to allow for appeals, meaning Trump could remain on the ballot pending U.S. Supreme Court action.

A group of House Democrats, led by Rep. Hank Johnson, of Georgia, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee’s courts subcommittee, demanded that Thomas recuse himself from the case in a letter dated Thursday.

The letter says Thomas should recuse himself because his wife, conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, was an outspoken supporter of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

“This time, we must urge you to recuse yourself from any involvement in the case of Anderson v. Griswold, because your impartiality is reasonably questioned by substantial numbers of fair-minded members of the public, who believe you wife Virginia ('Ginni') Thomas’s substantial involvement in the events leading up to the January 6 insurrection, and the financial incentive it presents for your household if President Trump is re-elected, are disqualifying,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter cited Ginni Thomas’ attendance at the “Stop the Steal” rally that took place before the Capitol attack, and said, “Not only did your wife attend the January 6 rally, but she was instrumental in planning it and bringing the insurrectionists to the Capitol.”

“Your wife was one of nine board members for a conservative political group that helped lead the 'Stop the Steal' movement, a movement which culminated in the January 6 attack that the Colorado Supreme Court deemed an insurrection,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is unthinkable that you could be impartial in deciding whether an event your wife personally organized qualifies as an ‘insurrection’ that would prevent someone from holding the office of President.”

A spokesperson for the Supreme Court did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment on the letter.

Democratic Reps. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, Glenn Ivey of Maryland, Gerald Connolly of Virginia, Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico, Jasmine Crockett of Texas, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Dan Goldman of New York also signed the letter.

Thomas in October recused himself in a case related to the Capitol attack that involves former Trump legal adviser John Eastman, who previously worked as one of Thomas' law clerks. Thomas, as common practice for court justices, did not provide an explanation for his recusal.

But Thomas continues to face scrutiny for refusing to recuse himself from several other Jan. 6-related cases, including one involving whether Trump has presidential immunity from federal prosecution. Johnson last month led a letter asking Thomas to recuse himself from that case, again citing his wife’s conservative activism. The Supreme Court last month denied special counsel Jack Smith’s request to step in ahead of the normal appeals process.