Groundswell has reportedly been very active, including in opposing gun reform legislation, and in pushing for the repeal of sections of the Voting Rights Act, which her husband voted to do regarding Section 4 just last month:
Ginni Thomas also actively coordinated Groundswell’s efforts to assist in the attacks on voting rights precedent, doing so in the months leading up to the Supreme Court’s infamous 5-4 conservative Shelby County decision. In communications with voter suppression groups, such as True the Vote, that sought to “reframe” voter ID laws because they are “already lost & equated with racism,” Ginni Thomas demanded to know who “are key working group members on ELECTION LAW, ELECTION REFORM and THE LEFT’S NARRATIVES, Groundswell???” (emphasis in original). It is this unapologetic Groundswell involvement in cases that were actively pending before the Supreme Court that reveals Ginni Thomas is continuing the ethically dubious right-wing activism that raised so many red flags previously.
Justices periodically recuse themselves from cases in which they have a potential conflict. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the vote last month to uphold the core of Arizona’s tough immigration law, because she was the government’s solicitor when the Obama administration sued Arizona over the statute. And Justice Sonya Sotomayor recused herself from a case this year regarding indecency and the public airwaves, because she dealt with the issue as a lower court judge. But Thomas has shown no willingness to step aside on cases in which his wife has a deep ideological — and financial — interest.
And that has some public interest advocates crying foul.
Mother Jones‘ Washington Bureau Chief, David Corn, says there are a number of “bombshells” in the report.
“The documents show that there is a portion of the far right so fed up with the Republican Party and mainline conservatives that it felt compelled to band together to scheme how to advance the most extreme talking points of the Right AND to mount an attack on Karl Rove,” Corn told theGrio. “Its secret Rove project has the ambitious aims of reducing conservative donations to his super-PAC and rendering Rove ‘toxic’ for the conservative grassroots. And the fact that this effort is led in part by Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Cout Justice Clarence Thomas, indicates how closely aligned Clarence Thomas is with the most extreme reaches of the conservative movement.”
Corn says Groundswell is extensive.
“It does involve some of the loudest voices of the right, including Allen West, Frank Gaffney, and Jerry Boykin, and its meetings and deliberations include organizations active in Washington and the grassroots, including True the Vote, one of the leading players in the Right’s so-called voter identification crusade,” Corn said. “The documents show that Groundswell and its members do communicate and coordinate with the offices of the most conservative members of Congress, including Senators Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions. They also show that this hush-hush message coordination is active on a host of fronts: immigration reform, voter rights, Benghazi, sequestration, judicial appointments, and much more.”
Corn, who broke the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video, described Ginni Thomas as an “active participant” in the group, but not its leader.
“There do not seem to be official officers of the group, but Ginni Thomas has been one of the coordinators of Groundswell,” Corn said. “She attends meetings. She is one of the most active participants on the group’s Google page, often egging on participants to advance agreed-upon [sic] talking points. In meetings and in messages to the group, Thomas has awarded “brownie points” to participants who have used talking points cooked up by the group. After my story appeared, one prominent conservative told me that Thomas helped set up the group so that Frank Gaffney, an extremely anti-Islam hawk who has been booted out of several conservative coalitions, could have a forum.”
Read more, and view the memos obtained by Mother Jones, at MotherJones.com.
And follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.