Why demands for Justice Thomas to recuse himself on Jan. 6 cases don't meet the laugh test
The demands that Justice Thomas recuse himself from a case involving the January 6 incident because of his wife's activities are silly. Similar demands for recusal of a prominent member of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because of his wife's related activities were dismissed out of hand, to the approval of the media, the legal establishment, and academia. See Salon, December 2, 2010:
An attempt to oust a liberal judge from hearing a landmark gay marriage [sic] case in California ended Thursday almost as quickly as it began.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request that he recuse himself from the case because his wife, Ramona Ripston, is a former head of the American Civil Liberties Union's Southern California office.
The ACLU is an outspoken opponent of Proposition 8.
Supporters of the gay marriage [sic] ban argued in court papers Wednesday that the judge appointed by President Carter would have trouble remaining impartial because of his wife's link to the ACLU.
The ABA Journal, published by the American Bar Association:
Updated: Opponents of same-sex marriage [sic] in California have lost their bid to disqualify a liberal judge on the panel appointed to hear their appeal that was based on his wife's history with the American Civil Liberties Union.
On Wednesday, sponsors of the state's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage [sic] asked Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to remove himself from the case, the San Jose Mercury News reports. His wife, Ramona Ripston, is stepping down as executive director of the ACLU's Southern California chapter. Ripston and the ACLU have opposed Proposition 8 "and have been active participants in this very lawsuit," according to court papers.
Quickly following on the heels of an announcement of which 9th Circuit judges would here [sic] the federal appeal of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a suit challenging the constitutionality of CA's gay marriage [sic] ban, Proposition 8, same-sex marriage [sic] opponents filed a motion asking Judge Stephen Reinhardt to recuse himelf from the case. They question his ability to impartially hear the case, given that his wife heads the Southern California chapter of the ACLU, which had opposed Proposition 8 from the beginning.
Today, Reinhardt said "thanks but no thanks."
In his own words: "I have before me defendants-intervenors-appellants' motion to disqualify myself from this appeal. I have not hesitated to recuse from cases in the past when doing so was warranted by the circumstances . . . I am certain that "a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would [not] conclude that [my] impartiality might reasonably be questioned." United States v. Nelson, 718 F.2d 315, 321 (9th Cir. 1983). I will be able to rule impartially on this appeal, and I will do so. The motion is therefore DENIED."
The precedent applies to Justice and Mrs. Thomas.