For years, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has been a fixture in far right-wing politics, having co-founded the group Liberty Central in 2009 and the Groundswell Group in 2013, both focusing on fighting progressivism in the United States and the Republican Party establishment. Her extensive political activities have led to several high-profile calls for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases where the potential for bias seemed all but guaranteed. Congressional investigations into former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election have brought Ginni Thomas back into the spotlight, with CNBC recently reporting on her little-known consulting firm and its potential for creating a conflict of interest with the highest court in the United States.
Ginni Thomas’ involvement in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election have prompted calls for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from cases involving the January 6th, 2021 attempted insurrection on Capitol Hill, as well as an effort to create a formal Supreme Court code of ethics. Ginni Thomas’ consultancy, Liberty Consulting, was founded as part of her political action committee (PAC) Liberty Central in 2011, going on to serve a number of conservative-leaning clients. Publicly available information about the firm and its clients is sparse, requiring reporters to cross-check Virginia business records, tax forms, Federal Election Commission filings, personal financial disclosure documents, and interviews with people familiar with her work.
Current Supreme Court rules do not require spouses to publicly disclose earnings or clients that could have a stake in a Supreme Court case. CNBC identified a number of conservative organizations that hired Thomas, such as the FedUp PAC, The Center for Security Policy, and several companies with ties to conservative judicial advisor Leonard Leo, who advised former president Trump on potential Supreme Court nominees. Due to relatively mild reporting requirements, it is difficult to identify most of Liberty Consulting’s clients as well as the value of its engagements, making it nearly impossible to verify potential conflicts of interest.
Ultimately, for disclosure to be meaningful, it must be robust – especially so for those serving in some of the highest offices in the U.S. government. By updating reporting requirements to include the sources and amounts of consulting contracts taken on by spouses, the Supreme Court can reinforce its image as the final source of impartial justice in the United States.