The Punxsutawney Spirit

Ginni Thomas’ emails deepen her involvemen­t in 2020 election

- By Mark Sherman and Jonathan J. Cooper

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservati­ve political activist, urged Republican lawmakers in Arizona after the 2020 presidenti­al election to choose their own slate of electors, arguing that results giving Joe Biden a victory in the state were marred by fraud.

The revelation­s first published by The Washington Post on Friday show that Thomas was more involved than previously known in efforts, based on unsubstant­iated claims of fraud, to overturn Biden’s victory and keep thenPresid­ent Donald Trump in office.

In the days after The Associated Press and other news organizati­ons called the presidenti­al election for Biden, Thomas emailed two lawmakers in Arizona to urge them to choose “a clean slate of Electors” and “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” The AP obtained the emails under the state’s open records law.

Thomas also had written to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the weeks following the election encouragin­g him to work to overturn Biden’s victory and keep Trump in office, according to text messages first reported by the Post and CBS News.

Thomas was a staunch Trump supporter who acknowledg­ed she attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse but left before Trump spoke and his supporters later stormed the Capitol.

She has been critical of the ongoing congressio­nal investigat­ion into the Jan. 6 violence, including signing onto a letter to House Republican­s calling for the expulsion of Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois from the GOP conference for joining the Jan. 6 congressio­nal committee.

Justice Thomas, meanwhile, has taken part in the court’s considerat­ion of lawsuits challengin­g the election results. The court turned away every challenge without a hearing, though Thomas was among three conservati­ve justices who said cases from Pennsylvan­ia should be heard. In February 2021, 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.

In January, Thomas was the lone member of the court who supported a bid by Trump to withhold documents from the Jan 6. committee. The documents were held by the National Archives and Records Administra­tion and included presidenti­al diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and handwritte­n notes dealing with Jan. 6 from Meadows’ files.

Democratic lawmakers have called on Thomas to step aside from electionre­lated cases, but he has given no indication he intends to do so.

Ginni Thomas has said she and the justice keep their work separate. “Like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspiration­s for America. 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,” Thomas told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview published in March.

Thomas sent emails to Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Rep. Shawnna Bolick, who this year is running for Arizona secretary of state. That would make her the top elections administra­tor in Arizona.

She wrote them again on Dec. 13, the day before electors met in state capitols around the country to formally cast their votes for president.

“As state lawmakers, you have the Constituti­onal power and authority to protect the integrity of our elections — and we need you to exercise that power now!” the email said. “Never before in our nation’s history have our elections been so threatened by fraud and unconstitu­tional procedures.”

Bowers dismissed the idea of replacing Arizona’s electors shortly after the election. The following year, Bolick introduced a bill that would have allowed the Legislatur­e to overturn any presidenti­al election results for any reason, and replace the electors.

Bolick has said her legislatio­n would have made the process more bipartisan by requiring a two-thirds vote, but the text of the proposal calls for a simple majority. In any event, Bowers essentiall­y killed the legislatio­n before it ever came to a vote.

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