Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) rebuked Democrats for demanding that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas be held responsible or accountable for his wife’s text messages by stealing a move from the leftist playbook.
What is the background?
Progressive Democrats are calling for Thomas to resign or be impeached after CBS News and the Washington Post reported that his wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, exchanged 29 text messages with Mark Meadows after the 2020 election.
The text messages, which neither cite Justice Thomas nor refer to the Supreme Court, were mostly sent in November 2020 and urged then-President Donald Trump to continue fighting the certification of the election. One text message was sent the day after the Jan. 6 riots.
Democrats immediately seized on the text message as evidence that Justice Thomas has engaged in unethical or compromising behavior. However, no evidence has surfaced corroborating the accusations. Justice Thomas and his wife have long maintained they keep their work separate and do not discuss work-related matters.
What did Hawley say?
Hawley told a CNN reporter on Monday that Democrats' reaction is "kind of misogynistic" because they are intertwining Justice Thomas and his wife in a way that progressive and feminist ideology would not otherwise permit.
"She’s an independent, adult woman, it just seems a little strange to me all of these calls for her husband to be what, like, minding her better? Frankly, I think it’s kind of misogynistic," Hawley said.
"She’s a private individual," he added when asked if the text messages concern him. "He’s a justice on the US Supreme Court, but I think this idea that he is somehow automatically responsible for everything she says — what does that mean? Does she have to get his permission?"
On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) similarly condemned the move to force Justice Thomas' resignation or impeachment.
"This is a political hit, part of liberals' years-long quest to delegitimize the court," McConnell said from the Senate floor.
Still, top Democrats are calling on Thomas to recuse himself from certain cases related to Jan. 6, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has claimed that Ginni Thomas' text messages raise "a serious question about conflict of interest for Justice Thomas."
This story has been updated.