Placeholder when loading item promotions
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, urged 29 Arizona Republican lawmakers — 27 more than previously known — to overturn Joe Biden’s popular vote victory and “vote” presidential elections, emails from The reveal Washington Post.
The Post reported last month that Thomas emailed two members of the Arizona House in November and December 2020, urging them to overturn Biden’s victory by choosing presidential elections — a responsibility that under state law rests with Arizona voters incumbent. Thomas sent the messages through FreeRoots, an online platform designed to make it easy to send canned emails to multiple elected officials.
Democratic lawmakers have again called for a code of conduct for the U.S. Supreme Court in the face of mounting scrutiny of Justice Thomas and his wife. (Video: The Washington Post)
New documents show Thomas did indeed use the platform to reach many lawmakers at once. On November 9, she sent identical emails to 20 members of the Arizona House and seven Arizona State Senators. At that time, it represented more than half of the Republican MPs in the state parliament.
The news, just days after media organizations declared the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, called on lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressures” and asserted that the responsibility for voter selection rests “with you and only up to you”. They have “the power to stand up against fraud” and “ensure a clean list of voters is selected,” the email said.
Among lawmakers who received the email was then-Rep. Anthony Kern, a Stop the Steal supporter who lost his re-election bid in November 2020 and then joined US Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) and others when plaintiffs joined in a lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence, a last-ditch effort to topple Biden’s victory. Kern was photographed outside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots but said he did not enter the building, according to local media reports.
Kern did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. He is seeking his party’s nomination for a seat in the Arizona State Senate and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
On Dec. 13, the day before members of the Electoral College were due to cast their ballots and seal Biden’s victory, Thomas emailed 22 members of the House of Representatives and one Senator. “Before you select your state’s electorate … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and take the lead,” the email read. It was linked to a video in which a man urged swing state lawmakers to “make things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”
House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers and Rep. Shawnna Bolick, the two previously identified recipients, told the Post in May that contacting Thomas did not affect their decisions on how to deal with allegations of voter fraud.
But the revelation that Ginni Thomas was directly involved in urging her to overrule the popular vote – an act that would have been unprecedented in modern times – raised questions about whether her husband could be cleared of cases related to the presidential election and -try to withdraw 2020 to undermine it. Ginni Thomas’ status as a leading conservative political activist sets her apart from other Supreme Court Justice spouses.
Ginni Thomas did not respond to requests for comment on this report. She has long insisted that she and her husband operate on separate professional paths.
A Supreme Court spokeswoman did not respond to questions from Clarence Thomas.
The Post received the emails pursuant to Arizona’s Public Records Act, which — unlike laws in some other major swing states of 2020 — restricts the public from accessing emails, text messages, and other written communications to and permitted by state legislatures.
In March, The Post and CBS News received text messages that Ginni Thomas had sent to Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff at the time, in the weeks following the 2020 election. The news showed Thomas spreading false claims and urging Meadows to keep fighting to keep Trump in the White House.
“This conflict of interest just yells at you,” Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who serves on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, said on MSNBC in response to the May report of the Post revealing this Emails to Bolick and Bowers.
Schiff pointed to Clarence Thomas’ decision not to resist when Trump went to the Supreme Court to try to block the House committee from gaining access to his White House records. The Supreme Court declined to block the release of these documents. Thomas, who sided with Trump, was the only one to live up to dissenting opinions.
“Here you have the wife of a Supreme Court justice,” Schiff said, trying to “get Arizona to falsely reject the votes of millions. And, to add to that, her Supreme Court husband, who wrote a dissent in a case opposing making documents available to Congress that may have revealed some of those emails.”
Following the May article, Mark Paoletta — a longtime Thomases ally who played a role in confirming Clarence Thomas before the Supreme Court as a member of George HW Bush’s administration — confirmed that Ginni Thomas signed the emails, but he tried to minimize their role.
“Ginni signed her name on a pre-written form letter that was signed by thousands of citizens and sent to state legislatures across the country,” Paoletta wrote on Twitter on May 20. Describing Thomas’ activities as “a private individual joining a letter writer campaign,” he sarcastically added, “How disturbing, what a threat!”
The letter campaigns were organized on FreeRoots.com, which promoted itself as a platform to increase grassroots representation across the political spectrum. A Post check of the archived websites shows it was heavily used in late 2020 by groups trying to overturn the results of the presidential election.
One of those groups was Every Legal Vote, which organized the campaign to deliver the message Ginni Thomas sent on November 9 to “American Citizens, in partnership” with the nonprofit organization United in Purpose, according to websites powered by the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive are preserved. United in Purpose, which uses data to mobilize conservative Christian voters, has hosted luncheons in recent years where Thomas presented their Impact Awards to right-wing leaders.
On December 14, 2020, Arizona’s Biden electors cast their ballot after the election results were confirmed by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and Gov. Doug Ducey (R).
Trump’s electors met in Arizona that day and signed a document declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified electors.” One of them was Kern, the outgoing country representative.
Kern was among more than a dozen lawmakers who signed a letter to Congress the same day demanding that the state’s electoral votes go to Trump or be “completely annulled until a full forensic examination can be conducted.”
The lawmaker’s letter was an exhibit in Kern and Gohmert’s lawsuit, which asked a federal court to rule that Pence has “exclusive authority and sole discretion” in deciding which electoral votes count for a particular state. The plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to intervene after the case was dismissed by lower courts. The day after the January 6 riot, the court refused in an unsigned order.