Justice Clarence Thomas recuses himself from case involving former Trump advisor

 October 4, 2023

The Supreme Court refused a request from ex-Trump advisor John Eastman on Monday to quash a lower court ruling that he "more likely than not" broke the law by trying to convince Congress not to certify Joe Biden's election.

That decision was notable in that one of the Court's most high-profile members chose to leave himself out of it. 

Eastman once clerked for Clarence Thomas

According to NBC News, Justice Clarence Thomas recused himself from Eastman's case, marking the first time that he has done so in matters relating to the 2020 presidential election.

At issue are attempts by Eastman to prevent California's Chapman University of Orange from providing emails from Eastman's work account to the since disbanded House January 6 committee. Eastman was previously employed by the university as a law professor.

NBC News pointed out that Eastman's case "was effectively moot even before the Supreme Court's action," as the committee had already obtained the material in question.

While Thomas did not explain why he had decided to recuse himself, NBC News noted how Eastman at one point served as one of the justice's law clerks.

Court refuses to hear claim that Trump is ineligible to run again

NBC News reported that Monday also saw former President Donald Trump score a legal victory when the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from write-in Republican presidential candidate John Castro.

Castro maintains that Trump is barred from seeking reelection by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. It states,

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

According to the longshot candidate, Trump "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [U.S.], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

January 6 defendants appealing to the Supreme Court

Meanwhile, USA Today reported last month that three January 6 defendants are appealing to the Supreme Court to have their charge of "obstruction of an official proceeding" thrown out.

The men stress that the charge stems from a law in 2002 following the collapse of Enron and is being misapplied in the contest of January 6.

Their lawyers maintain that a law "intended to combat financial fraud" has instead "been transformed into a blatant political instrument to crush dissent."

Newsweek observed that a favorable Supreme Court ruling would have widespread implications, as hundreds of others have been hit with the same charge. Famous examples include former Olympic swimmer Klete Kelle and former President Trump.

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Thomas Jefferson
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