Clarence Thomas Should Recuse From 2020 Election Cases, Majority Say—Poll

A majority of Americans believe that Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from hearing cases relating to the 2020 election, according to a new poll.

A Quinnipiac University poll published on Wednesday found 52 percent of respondents agreed that Thomas, the Court's longest-serving member, should not participate in cases about the last presidential election.

The poll comes as Thomas has faced significant pressure to remove himself from such cases, as well as cases about the events surrounding the Capitol riot on January 6, 2022.

That pressure stems from controversy surrounding his wife, conservative activist Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, who is alleged to have sent text messages to then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in November, 2020 expressing support for overturning the election and her belief that President Joe Biden was not the legitimate winner.

The Quinnipiac poll found that just 39 percent of respondents believed Thomas should not recuse himself from 2020 election cases, while nine percent didn't know or did not answer the question.

Justice Thomas Speaks at the Heritage Foundation
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. A new poll has shown a majority of Americans believe Thomas should recuse himself from cases about the 2020 presidential election. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The survey did not ask specifically about cases related to the Capitol riot.

The poll was conducted among 1,436 U.S. adults nationwide from March 31 to April 4 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent.

Quinnipiac also found a stark partisan divide on the question, with 79 percent of Democrats saying Thomas should recuse himself, 14 percent saying he shouldn't, and nine percent saying they didn't know, or had no opinion [figures may have been rounded up].

By contrast, just 28 percent of Republicans said Thomas should recuse him, while 64 percent said he shouldn't, and eight percent didn't know or provided no answer.

However, a majority of independents, some 53 percent, agreed that Thomas should recuse himself. A further 38 percent said the justice shouldn't recuse himself, and nine percent didn't know or provided no answer.

The Quinnipiac University poll also asked if Ginni Thomas' political activity poses an ethical problem for husband, and found that 47 percent of respondents believe it does and 39 percent saying it did not, and 13 percent providing no answer or saying they didn't know [figures may have been rounded down].

There was a similar partisan divide on the question of Ginni Thomas' political activities. Among Democrats, 75 percent believed his wife's activities posed an ethical problem for Justice Thomas, while 17 percent did not, and the don't know/no answer category stood at eight percent.

Republicans saw the matter differently, with 21 percent believing Ginni Thomas' activism posed an ethical problem for her husband, and 61 percent saying it did not. The percentage of Republicans who didn't know or had no answer stood at 17 percent.

Among independents, 49 percent saw an ethical problem for Thomas, 40 percent did not and 12 percent didn't know or provided no answer [figures may have been rounded up].

According to text messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News, Ginni Thomas exchanged 29 text messages with Meadows about the election.

On November 10, 2020, she reportedly wrote: "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."