The outspoken Virginia Thomas has enjoyed a decades-long career in politics — but has repeatedly maintained that her political activities posed no conflict of interest with the work of her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
“Like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America,” Thomas said earlier this month in an interview with the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon. “But we have our own separate careers, and our own ideas and opinions too. Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work.”
That’s not good enough for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and what she suggested surprised many Washington insiders.
Justice Thomas faces renewed accusations of conflict of interest his wife repeatedly urged aides to former President Donald Trump to resist the results of the November 2020 presidential election. A series of text messages between Virginia Thomas — known as Ginni — and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows show her lobbying Meadows to fight the election results and offering strategic advice on how best to challenge President Joe Biden’s victory.
Responding to a question on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — who suggested that Thomas recuse himself from any court cases related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — Pelosi said the texts indicate Ginni Thomas was a participant “in a coup” to illegally keep Trump in power.
The text exchanges, first reported by The Washington Post and CBS, highlight Thomas’ access to the Trump inner circle and her personal involvement in a divisive and controversial fight that many Trump supporters hoped would eventually end up in front of her husband on the Supreme Court.
Trump’s attempts to challenge the results did eventually make it before the court, which refused to hear a collection of state-level challenges in February 2021. Justice Thomas called the cases an “ideal opportunity” to address an important question whether state lawmakers or state courts get the last word about the manner in which federal elections are carried out. He dissented, calling the ruling not to hear arguments in the case “befuddling” and “inexplicable.”
It’s common for spouses of judges and Supreme Court justices to have their own careers. Those careers often involve the law in the insular, overlapping world of high-level D.C. legal circles.
While Thomas’ career has been deeply steeped in conservative politics, it has rarely made headlines even in the highly partisan world of D.C. It is not uncommon for Supreme Court justice spouses to be involved in politics.
Her history as a staunch Trump supporter was no secret. Before the November 2020 elections, her Facebook page featured multiple postings that covered a variety of familiar conservative topics: allegations of corruption against the Biden family, speculation that billionaire liberal George Soros controls the Democratic Party, attacks on the mainstream media, hints that Biden is suffering from dementia, and claims that former President Barack Obama broke the law by spying on Trump and his associates during the transition between their administrations.
Thomas has said in interviews that she attended the initial pro-Trump rally the morning of Jan. 6 but left before Trump spoke and the crowds headed for the Capitol building.
Ginni Thomas was born Virginia Lamp in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1957 and attended the University of Nebraska, later earning a law degree from Creighton University, a private Jesuit university in Omaha. Her mother, Marjorie Lamp, was a major figure in local Republican political circles and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1972. Ginni Thomas, in her mother’s 2009 obituary, said her mother was “into politics for all the right reasons — for our country.”
Ginni Lamp first came to Washington, D.C., in the early 1980s as an aide to former Nebraska Republican Rep. Hal Daub. She married Clarence Thomas in 1987 and first emerged into the national spotlight as a strong public defender of her husband during his controversial 1991 confirmation hearings.
She went on to work with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and for the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing powerhouse that has played an instrumental role in an unqualified Trump success — remaking the court with conservative judges such as Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, who were selected and vetted by the foundation.
She spent several years as a special correspondent for The Daily Caller, contributing articles and videos to the website founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Her last contribution there was in 2018, but the articles feature headlines like, “Dems Are On The ‘Greatest Witch Hunt Since Salem,’ According To Donald Trump Jr.”
Her biography on the Daily Caller website mentions hobbies such as “motor homing” and supporting the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. It states that Thomas has “maintained her midwestern authenticity after 30 years in Washington, D.C.”
Twelve years ago, she founded her own firm, Liberty Consulting; in her Free Beacon interview, she described her role as “coalition work and bridge-building.”
Thomas defended her openly political work as compatible with her husband’s duties as long as she took no positions on specific cases before the Supreme Court.
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“The legal lane is my husband’s — I never much enjoyed reading briefs and judicial opinions anyway and am quite happy to stay out of that lane,” Thomas told the Free Beacon.
“We do not discuss cases until opinions are public — and even then, our discussions have always been very general and limited to public information.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article