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Trump Meets With Wife of Supreme Court Justice About Transgender Troops – Who He Will Ask SCOTUS to Ban

The spouse of a Supreme Court justice is lobbying the president on an issue he will bring to the court and which her husband will ultimately decide.

New Civil Rights Movement | January 28, 2019

On Tuesday the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote along partisan lines, decided to allow the Trump administration to jump ahead and begin implementing its long-desired ban on transgender troops serving in the U.S. Military. The move was not a ruling on a case, but rather an unusual – and to some, eyebrow-raising – decision to intervene while several cases fighting Trump’s transgender ban are working their way through the federal court system.

Also unusual and eyebrow-raising was that President Trump last Thursday met with a far right wing activist and lobbyist for an hour in the White House, and discussed, among other topics, her opposition to transgender troops.

What makes the hour-long conversation so unusual and eyebrow-raising is that the activist and lobbyist is Ginni Thomas, who happens to be married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Here’s how The New York Times, which broke the news Saturday, reports the event:

“President Trump met last week with a delegation of hard-right activists led by Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, listening quietly as members of the group denounced transgender people and women serving in the military, according to three people with direct knowledge of the events.”

“During the meeting last Thursday in the Roosevelt Room, which was attended by about a half-dozen White House aides, one woman argued that women should not serve in the military because they had less muscle mass and lung capacity than men did, according to those familiar with the events,” the Times continues.

“At another point, someone said that gay marriage, which the Supreme Court determined in 2015 was the law of the land, was harming the fabric of the United States. And another attendee was dismissive that sexual assault is pervasive in the military.”

Joshua Block, an attorney for the ACLU’s LGBT Project, took to Twitter to note that the “same week this meeting took place,” Justice Thomas “provided the decisive 5th vote to let the ban take effect.”

Block offered this analogy:

There is a tremendous conflict of interest for the President – who will ask the Supreme Court to rule that his transgender troops ban is within his constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief – to meet with the spouse of a Supreme Court justice who will ultimately vote on that issue. And for the Supreme Court justice.

 

And ultimately, the Supreme Court will rule on one or more cases challenging Trump’s transgender troop ban, just as it did on same-sex marriage. The appearance of impropriety and undue influence demands Justice Thomas recuse himself.

Written by David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement. Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license