Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued a searing dissenting opinion after the Supreme Court refused to hear a pivotal case involving a controversial Pennsylvania electoral directive that allowed the counting of ballots received up to three days after Election Day.
Now, Thomas' opponents are using his opinion to attack his wife.
What did Thomas say?
Thomas believes the court's refusal to hear the case opens the door for more election controversies in the future.
The central concern, according to Thomas, is whether state executives have the power to usurp their state legislatures in determining election laws, despite the U.S. Constitution explicitly assigning that power to legislators.
"[Pennsylvania's] decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election. But that may not be the case in the future," Thomas wrote. "These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable."
Thomas later added:
One wonders what this Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.
Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito joined Thomas in dissent.
Why did opponents attack his wife?
Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, has been outspoken about her political beliefs and support for Donald Trump.
Despite the fact that Thomas raised serious constitutional concerns with the Pennsylvania case, Democrats implied his wife's politics drove his dissent — and even demanded that she be investigated to determine what role, if any, she played in the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "I'm concerned that #SCOTUS Justice Thomas dissented—we will have to learn more about the role his wife Gini Thomas played in raising money for Trump's deadly #Jan6 'Insurrection Day.'"
Duty to Warn, an "association of mental health professionals warning Trump is psychologically unfit," attacked Thomas for not disavowing his wife's politics.
"Today, SCOTUS refused to hear an appeal from the PA GOP about extending mail-in voting deadlines. Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent. His wife Ginni endorsed the 1/6 protest, demanded an overturn of the election, and sent 'LOVE' to demonstrators. He's not dissented to any of that," the organization tweeted.
Today, SCOTUS refused to hear an appeal from the PA GOP about extending mail-in voting deadlines. Clarence Thomas w… https://t.co/WDVJSXIO87— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@Duty To Warn 🔉)1614029385.0
"Justice Thomas by the very fact that Ginni Thomas participated in 1/6 attack needs to recuse himself," another critic said.
"For the sake of the integrity of the highest court in the United States of America, Justice Thomas must resign. Ginni Thomas must be investigated for her role in the January 6 insurrection. He and his wife are clearly radicalized," another person said.
There is no evidence that Ginni Thomas played any role in the deadly violence at the Capitol.
Ginni Thomas apologized to Thomas' staff earlier this month in emails obtained by the Washington Post.
"I owe you all an apology. I have likely imposed on you my lifetime passions," Ginni Thomas wrote. "My passions and beliefs are likely shared with the bulk of you, but certainly not all. And sometimes the smallest matters can divide loved ones for too long. Let's pledge to not let politics divide THIS family, and learn to speak more gently and knowingly across the divide."