While the United States Supreme Court heard arguments regarding former President Donald Trump‘s eligibility to be on the ballot in Colorado, several Democratic Senators including Majority Whip Dick Durbin (IL), who is also Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, continued to object to Justice Clarence Thomas not recusing himself.
Durbin argued that the involvement of Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas — who reportedly urged Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to push election fraud claims after Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden — creates a conflict of interest for the Justice.
Opposing Durbin’s assertion, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) — a MAGA loyalist who showed her support for Trump outside the Supreme Court during the arguments — told Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business that Durbin is “determined to go after him because Clarence Thomas does not fit what Dick Durbin thinks that an African American member of the court should be or do or say. It is as simple as that.”
She added: “[Thomas] is conservative, they do not like him and Dick Durbin’s been after him.”
The American people need to choose our president.— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) February 8, 2024
That’s what democracy is all about. pic.twitter.com/gD1lhoKYvU
Durbin, who made no mention of Thomas’s race, has been calling on the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of conduct for since 2012, when he first sent a letter to the Chief Justice John Roberts. (Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse, Al Franken and Patrick Leahy co-signed it.)
In 2023, when ProPublica released its investigative report of Justice Thomas’s undisclosed gifts including 38 vacations, Durbin responded in a statement: “This is a shameless lifestyle underwritten for years by a gaggle of fawning billionaires.”
Durbin added: “Justices Thomas and Alito have made it clear that they are oblivious to the embarrassment they have visited on the highest court in the land. Now, it is up to Chief Justice Roberts and the other Justices to act on ethics reform to save their own reputations and the integrity of the Court. If the Court will not act, then Congress must continue to.”
Note: Durbin has also asked Justice Samuel Alito (who is White) to recuse himself in Moore v. United States. Alito refused.