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Thomas Poses With Senate Candidate Walker in Supreme Court Photo

April 9, 2022, 12:27 AM

Justice Clarence Thomas spent time at the U.S. Supreme Court this week with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker, posing for a photo tweeted out by the former football star’s campaign spokesperson.

The photo comes amid scrutiny of the conservative justice stemming from the political activities of his wife, Virginia Thomas, including text messages she sent urging then-President Donald Trump’s chief of staff to do more to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.

A number of judicial-ethics experts have said those efforts should have prompted Thomas to recuse himself from election-related cases the court handled. Thomas was the lone dissenter when the court cleared the way for some of Trump’s White House papers to be turned over to the congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Ginni Thomas’s Pro-Trump Texts Put Husband’s Court Role in Focus

Neither Thomas nor Walker’s campaign immediately responded to requests for comment.

Polls show Walker, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1982 and went on to play for the National Football League, with a wide lead in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary. But in recent weeks, his opponents have deepened attacks, raising questions about his chances in a general election against the Democratic incumbent, Raphael Warnock.

Walker’s former wife, Cindy Grossman, once accused him of putting a gun to her head. He has written and spoken about his past struggles with mental illness. In an interview with Axios last December, he did not address Grossman’s allegation directly but said he was “always accountable to whatever I’ve ever done.”

He was in Washington to receive an award from the Horatio Alger Association, on whose board Thomas sits as an honorary member. The group said on Twitter that recipients received medallions at an event at the Supreme Court on Thursday evening. The court has generally been closed to the public since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020.

The photo offers the first public glimpse of Thomas since he was hospitalized March 18 for what became a week-long stay to treat an infection. Thomas was absent from the courtroom for two weeks of arguments, though he asked questions remotely during the second week.

Trump recruited Walker to run for the Senate seat, now held by Warnock, in a race that will help determine which party controls the chamber starting next year.

--With assistance from Mario Parker.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Elizabeth Wasserman at ewasserman2@bloomberg.net

John Harney

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.