The Ginni Thomas Question

Early in the Reagan administration, several Christian conservative leaders founded a group called the Council for National Policy. It soon turned into what my colleague David Kirkpatrick has described as “a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country.” One of its main functions was introducing political activists to wealthy donors who could finance their work.

Ginni Thomas at the Heritage Foundation.Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images

After Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, the group’s political arm, known as C.N.P. Action, sprang into action. It encouraged its members to spread stories about “election irregularities and issues” in five swing states that Joe Biden had won narrowly. The goal was to persuade Republican state legislators to adopt Trump’s false claims about election fraud — and then award their states’ electoral votes to him, overturning Biden’s victory.

One vocal proponent of the effort was a C.N.P. board member who had spent decades in conservative politics. In the lead-up to the Jan. 6 rally at the Capitol, she reportedly mediated between feuding factions so that they would work together to plan it. On the day of the rally, she posted a message on Facebook: “GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU STANDING UP or PRAYING!”

This board member’s name is Ginni Thomas, and she is married to Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court. Today, The Times Magazine has published an investigation of Ginni Thomas’s work and its connections to her husband, written by Danny Hakim and Jo Becker.

The spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice played an active role in an effort to overturn the result of a presidential election, hand victory to the loser and unravel American democracy.

That Supreme Court justice, in turn, seemed to endorse the effort. When Trump’s attempt to undo the election’s outcome came before the Supreme Court, six of the nine justices ruled against him. But Thomas was one of three justices who sided with Trump and, his dissent echoed the arguments of C.N.P. Action, as Danny and Jo explain. Thomas effectively argued for giving partisan state legislators more control over elections and their outcomes.

New York Times