Many social media users are calling on Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from a case that he accepted on behalf of the Supreme Court from Donald Trump, which seeks to undo an appellate court ruling relating to government documents that the former president improperly removed from the White House.
Those calling for Thomas’s recusal cite his consistent allegiance to Trump, as well as the fact that his wife, right-wing activist Ginni Thomas, actively encouraged Trump’s White House staff to illegally overturn his presidential election loss in late 2020.
On Tuesday, Trump’s legal team submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court relating to an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that allowed the Department of Justice to continue examining more than 100 classified documents that were retrieved from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in early August.
The appeal was sent directly to Thomas as an emergency request by Trump’s lawyers, who gave the Department of Justice (DOJ) a week to respond. Thomas oversees all such requests for the 11th Circuit Court system.
Many have raised concerns that Thomas may not rule impartially in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. While his wife’s actions don’t relate to the investigation into the documents, Thomas did rule in Trump’s favor in a case that involved his wife and presidential records earlier this year.
In that case, Trump had sought to prevent the January 6 committee from accessing White House records from his time in office. Those records — like the documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate — are the property of the U.S. government, and likely contain communications between Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows, who served as Trump’s chief of staff during the final months of his tenure.
Justice Thomas was the sole member of the Supreme Court to vote against allowing the documents to be transferred. All eight other justices agreed that Trump’s claims of executive privilege were invalid when it came to handing the records over to the January 6 committee.
Many social media users have pointed to Thomas’s dissent in that case as a reason the justice cannot be trusted in the case submitted by Trump’s lawyers this week.
“Of course, Justice Clarence Thomas will recuse himself from Trump case — correct?” presidential historian Michael Beschloss sarcastically wrote on Twitter. Later, Beschloss posted a tweet asking his followers to retweet if they agreed that Thomas should recuse himself. That post has been shared more than 24,000 times as of 1 pm Eastern Time on Wednesday.
Some have expressed doubt that Thomas will recuse himself because such a move would make it difficult for the justice to rule in future cases involving Trump.
“While not impossible, I find it unlikely Clarence Thomas will ever recuse himself from a Trump case because it would only serve to confirm the rightful allegations against him *AND* would prevent him in the months or years ahead of future cases where Trump may *REALLY* need him,” wrote author Don Winslow.