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Pelosi says Ginni Thomas texts show need for Supreme Court ethics code

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on March 31 called on Congress to pass ethics legislation for the Supreme Court. (Video: The Washington Post)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday renewed her call for the Supreme Court to institute a code of ethics, citing the recent revelations that Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed the Trump White House to try to overturn President Biden’s 2020 victory.

Following reports about the actions of Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, several Democrats have called on Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from certain Supreme Court cases related to the 2020 election.

Pelosi on Thursday declined to say whether Thomas should recuse himself or resign from the court, telling reporters, “I don’t think he should have ever been appointed, so, we could take it back to there.”

But she did say that the court’s lack of a code of ethics presents a serious problem.

“They have no code of ethics,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference at the Capitol. “And it’s — really? The Supreme Court of the United States? They’re making judgments about the air we breathe and everything else, and we don’t even know what their ethical standard is? … Why should they have lower standards than members of Congress in terms of reporting and all the rest?”

Pelosi noted that H.R. 1, the For the People Act, includes language calling for the establishment of a judicial code of ethics. The measure passed the House this month in a largely party-line vote, but its chances are dim in the Senate.

The speaker suggested that a House committee may have a hearing on the code of conduct issue soon, although she did not elaborate.

On Thomas, in particular, Pelosi said little about the Supreme Court justice but did make a pointed remark about his wife’s text messages urging the Trump White House to work to overturn Biden’s win.

“I’ve heard people say from time to time, ‘Well, it’s a personal decision of a judge as to whether he should recuse himself,’ ” Pelosi said. “Well, if your wife is an admitted and proud contributor to a coup of our country, maybe you should weigh that in your ethical standards.”

Ginni Thomas’s text messages were among thousands of documents related to the Jan. 6 insurrection, including other text messages and emails, that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows turned over to the House select committee investigating the attack before he abruptly stopped fully cooperating with the panel in December.

In some comments, Ginni Thomas was zealous in appealing to Meadows to help overturn the 2020 election results. “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark,” she wrote on Nov. 10, 2020. “The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said he was planning to call for a Supreme Court code of ethics as well in remarks on the Senate floor Thursday.

“I’m on the way to the Senate floor to talk about my Supreme Court Ethics Act and the need for the Supreme Court to adopt a binding Code of Conduct,” Murphy tweeted Thursday morning. “The Thomas revelations make it clear — the Supreme Court cannot and should not police itself.”