Who’s Afraid of Ginni Thomas?

The Thomases
SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
July 6, 2022

Clarence Thomas, the perpetually dour Supreme Court justice whose reactionary opinions have recently inflamed the nation, has a reputation, ironically enough, as the most taciturn member of the court. Even before SCOTUS’s political center lurched to the right with the addition of three Trump-appointed justices, Thomas rarely spoke during oral arguments, once going nearly 10 years without asking a single question from the bench, preferring to let his writing speak for itself.

Thomas’s inscrutability is just one of the many reasons that media attention has fixed on his wife, Ginni Thomas, an avid Facebooker, vocal election truther, and active conservative organizer who has no problems making her political opinions known. On March 11, for example, she reposted an article from author and former Trump administration lawyer Mark Paoletta, praising his “powerful rebuttal to the corporate media attacks” urging her husband to recuse himself from cases because, as she said, “I have views in the public square.” 

It’s a common charge she’s faced over the past several decades. Indeed, from the moment she became a serious romantic match with Thomas, a young law school graduate when they met in 1986, Ginni has been known as a “defend your man” sort of Republican, as the Daily Beast’s Jacob Bernstein once put it, albeit with a healthy professional life in conservative circles of her own. A former aide to Reps. Hal Daub and Dick Armey, Ginni Thomas was in many ways a firmament-style Republican. She worked in the Labor Department and at the Heritage Foundation, and founded her own nonprofit lobbying and consulting groups (Liberty Central and Liberty Consulting, respectively). Meanwhile, as her stature amplified, Thomas was frequently accused of influencing her husband’s judicial rulings in a more conservative direction.