Amid controversy surrounding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s personal ties to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, new polling finds that the vast majority of likely voters support implementing a stronger code of ethics for the High Court.
When asked if they agree that Supreme Court justices should be subjected to a code requiring them to withdraw from any case relating personally to financial or family matters 81 percent of 1,177 respondents answered yes. new polling by Data for Progress finds. The proposal was opposed by only 10% of respondents, giving supporters a margin of 71 points.
All political parties were supported. The code of ethics was most popular with Democrats receiving 84 percent support. A large majority of Republicans as well as independents supported the idea, with 82 and 77 percent respectively.
The polling is overwhelmingly in favor of Democratic and progressive lawmakersAnd government watchdog groups are calling for Thomas to recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election and Donald Trump’s coup attempt on January 6th, 2021. Last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called for Thomas to recuse himself from such cases and to disclose his family’s income gathered from far right organizations — or, better yet, to resign, she said.
These calls were sparked by recent revelations that Thomas’s wife, conservative activist Ginni Thomas, Was deeply involved in efforts to keep Trump in the White House after the former president’s loss to Joe Biden. In leaked texts between Ginni Thomas and Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, she appeared to be using her close ties with federal officials in order to push them to overturn the election results.
Thomas’s financial ties to the right wing have also come into question. Common Cause, a government watchdog group, discovered that Clarence Thomas failed to report that Ginni Thomas had received $680,000 in Koch-funded Heritage Foundation funds between 2003 and 2007. Clarence Thomas later updated his financial statements to reflect this information.
The existing code of conduct for members of the Supreme Court requires justices to recuse themselves from cases that may relate to their personal finances, but doesn’t specifically bar them from cases that they have personal ties to, outside of financial issues.
Experts in legal ethics say that Thomas’s personal ties make enough of a case for him to recuse himself from all 2020 election-related cases. Voters agree; polling From earlier in the month found that 53 percent of voters think that Thomas shouldn’t participate in cases involving his wife. The same poll was conducted by PoliticoOnly 28 percent of Americans approve Thomas, according to the Morning Consult.
The issue with Thomas’s participation in 2020 election-related cases is not only the rulings themselves, experts say, but also that it may shake the public’s trust in the Court overall.
As conservatives have manipulated Court in their favor, the public view of Supreme Court has been falling. A poll last year found that less than 50 percent of Americans approve of the Supreme Court’s performance, the lowest approval rating in five years.