Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been in hot water lately amid revelations that his wife, Ginni, not only attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Capitol insurrection, but also exchanged nearly 30 text messages with former President Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, urging him to help overturn the 2020 presidential election. Since reports about the texts, Clarence’s dissenting vote in a recent Supreme Court decision to grant Congress access to White House communications from Jan. 6 is all the more shady and indicative of an obvious conflict of interest.
On Tuesday, amid rising calls for Clarence to either resign or recuse himself from cases involving the insurrection, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) called it “kind of misogynistic” to suggest the Justice should be impacted by the actions of his wife. Hawley continued, in remarks to CNN: “[Ginni is] an independent, adult woman, it just seems a little strange to me all of these calls for her husband to be what, like, minding her better? Frankly, I think it’s kind of misogynistic.”
Ginni is a “private individual,” Hawley argued, who shouldn’t “have to get [Clarence’s] permission” to, say, help overturn a US election.
So, there you have it! Noted feminist Josh Hawley has spoken, and a woman’s place is in the insurrection, regardless of the inevitable conflict of interest this carries when her husband is a government official with a lifetime appointment, presiding over hugely consequential legal disputes about the insurrection in question.
Hawley’s unserious “feminist” defense of Ginni isn’t exactly surprising, coming from the only troll in the Senate who can somewhat rival Ted “Are Babies Born Racist?” Cruz. This is a man obsessed with QAnon-esque child porn conspiracy theories, who proudly waved and saluted to Jan. 6 rioters, then just as proudly sought to fundraise off photos of this. He knows that liberals and progressives aren’t upset because they want Ginni to ask her husband’s permission next time she tries to overturn an election; rather, Hawley’s framing of any criticisms of Ginni’s innately corrupt marriage as sexist stem from a broader trend emerging in right-wing politics: so-called “conservative feminism.”
Following the twisted, empty co-optations of feminist language from conservatives like Hawley, feminism isn’t about politics or substantive values that improve women’s lives—like, say, the rights to bodily autonomy or affordable health care and living wages that women and marginalized people are systematically denied. Their “feminism” is, instead, anything that’s said or done by an individual, highly privileged woman who shares and advances their conservative world views—whether that’s supporting an attempt to keep a fascist, anti-women government in power, or shilling for an anti-abortion movement that’s trying to throw women and pregnant people in jail for having abortions.
Much like the children Hawley claims he wants to protect from child predators out of political convenience, in reality, he could not give less of a fuck about women, their rights, or their “independence.” His faux outrage about Ginni is particularly rich, as he aligns himself with an anti-abortion movement seeking to literally require spousal approval for abortion, and allow abusive partners to sue and make a fortune off their victims’ abortions, too.
But the cherry on top of his entire disingenuous diatribe was his motivation for it: to keep Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, maintain the court’s 6-3 anti-abortion majority, and strip women and pregnant people of their most basic human rights as early as this summer.