Despite all the revelations provided to the public during the primetime Jan. 6th select committee hearings, one prominent person was missing. Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, first stated she was looking forward to talking to the committee and then suddenly pulled back. As Rep. Liz Cheney said in her appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, a subpoena could likely be issued for Thomas to testify, Politico reports.
“We certainly hope that she will agree to come in voluntarily, but the committee is fully prepared to contemplate a subpoena if she does not. I hope it doesn’t get to that. I hope she will come in voluntarily,” Cheney said. “So it’s very important for us to speak with her and as I said, I hope she will agree to do so voluntarily but I’m sure we will contemplate a subpoena if she won’t.”
The committee’s focal point will be zeroed in on Thomas’ involvement in election meddling in favor of former President Trump and the extent to which it went. It was reported that Thomas urged former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to try overturning the election and used the same rhetoric to stay 29 Arizona lawmakers. Rep. Cheney also pointed out that Justice Thomas was the only dissenting voice in a case where the House requested documents from the Trump White House.
“There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, but those lines involve sitting Supreme Court justices not presiding or appearing or taking action in cases in which their spouse may be implicated.” “And in this case for Clarence Thomas to issue a decision in a case — a dissent in a case where Congress was trying to get documents and those documents might involve his own wife, that’s the line that’s been crossed.”
There may be one thing in the way of the Jan. 6th’s subpoena power: Justice Clarence Thomas’s potential use of spousal privilege. As Newsweek notes, spousal privilege means “two married people cannot be forced to testify against each other in a criminal trial or in front of a grand jury or civil proceedings.”
One spouse would also be unable to testify against the other, even if a subpoena is issued. The Jan. 6th House committee is not doing a criminal investigation, so if Justice Thomas were to invoke spousal privilege, it’s not likely they can block it.