Fifty-two percent of Americans say Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election in the wake of recently revealed texts Thomas’ wife, Ginni, had sent about the efforts to overturn the election, according to a Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday.
The slight majority of Americans that say Thomas should recuse himself includes 79% of Democrats, 53% of independents and 28% of Republicans.
Overall, 39% say Thomas should not recuse himself, with 9% unsure.
Respondents to the survey were told that “it’s been reported that Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, communicated with former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, urging him to pursue efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.”
The results underscore recent criticism of Thomas from progressives and some legal ethics experts who see his wife’s political activism as a potential conflict of interest for Thomas’ work on some Supreme Court cases.
In text messages between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, obtained by the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the January 6 riot, Thomas regularly checked in with Meadows to encourage him to push claims of voter fraud and work to prevent the election from being certified.
As CNN previously reported, Thomas wrote to Meadows on November 10, 2020, saying: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!! … You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”
In the messages reviewed by CNN, Ginni Thomas was getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress of the attempt to find a path to overturn the results.
On November 24, 2020 she wrote: “I can’t see Americans swallowing the obvious fraud. Just going with one more thing with no frickin consequences… the whole coup and now this… we just cave to people wanting Biden to be anointed? Many of us can’t continue the GOP charade.”
Ginni Thomas previously revealed that she attended the pro-Trump rally that preceded the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, but says she “played no role” in planning the events of that day.
The poll results show that 47% think that Ginni Thomas’ political activity poses an ethical problem for her husband. In a mostly party-line split, 75% of Democrats call it an ethical problem, while 61% of Republicans say it is not one.
Justice Tomas previously drew ire after he did not recuse himself from a case involving White House January 6 records the nation’s highest court considered earlier this year. Other cases involving the insurrection could eventually land before the high court, but Thomas has given no indication that he’d step away from them, refusing to comment to CNN last month.
It is up to individual justices to decide whether a case poses a potential conflict that, under the law, requires their recusal.
For Wednesday’s poll results, Quinnipiac surveyed 1,436 U.S. adults nationwide from March 31 through April 4 via telephone. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.