Opinion: Thomas and Roberts: a contrast in judicial spouses
At one point during Donald Trump’s impeachment trial last month, I ended up sitting in the family gallery next to Jane Sullivan Roberts, wife of Chief Justice Roberts.
Her husband was presiding over the trial. My husband, Sherrod Brown, was one of the 100 senators who would cast a vote in the final verdict.
Follow me, please, down the rabbit hole: This is not the first time I’ve disclosed my marriage of 16 years. Whenever my role as a columnist intersects with Sherrod’s job as a senator, I disclose our relationship. In 2007, Random House published my memoir “…and His Lovely Wife.” A whole book about my marriage!
Nevertheless, my marital status was a complete surprise to Donald Trump. Makes sense. I’m a woman, and I’m over 30.
In mid-February Paul Sperry, a conservative author and defender of all things Trump, tweeted:
“FYI: syndicated columnist Connie Schultz, who’s slammed Trump as ‘a chronic and unapologetic liar,’ is married to — surprise! — liberal Democrat and rabid Trump-hater Sen. Sherrod Brown.”
Four days later, at 1:21 a.m., the president of the United States tweeted:
“Nice conflict. Brown dropped out of presidential race FAST. Polled at ZERO!”
Sherrod never entered the presidential race, and both our doctor and pastor have confirmed my suspicion that he is not rabid. And he wouldn’t waste his time hating Trump. However, the Yankees?
Let’s move along.
Yes, I’ve said Trump is a chronic liar. As of last December, The Washington Post reported that Trump had made 15,413 false or misleading claims over 1,055 days. If this isn’t a chronic condition, then my asthma of 46 years is just a head cold.
I didn’t see Trump’s tweet about my marriage until I awakened from a night’s rest to alerts from fellow journalists tagging me like tattlers. I love my people.
I thanked Trump on Twitter for proving my point and pivoted to raising money for baby diapers for families living in poverty. In a single day on Twitter, we raised more than $10,000 for the National Diaper Bank Network.
The need is endless. You can donate here: https://nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/
Where was I?
Oh, right: The Senate gallery, sitting next to Jane Sullivan Roberts during part of the impeachment trial.
On a brief break, we introduced ourselves to each other and I asked, “What do you think of all this?” I was referring to our witnessing history. She said it would be inappropriate to offer her opinion. I pressed; she demurred.
What a contrast to Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and longtime right-wing activist. You may remember her for calling up Anita Hill in 2010 to extract an apology from Hill for accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991.
These days, according to multiple news reports, Ginni Thomas is fueling an effort to help the Trump White House ferret out people in the federal government who don’t like Trump. Good thing I don’t like cliches or we’d be talking about those fish in that barrel.
Thomas has a list of replacement employees, too. For example, The New York Times reported that, in 2019, two of Thomas’ preferred peeps were David A. Clarke, the former sheriff of Milwaukee County, whom she wanted to be in a homeland security role, and frequent Fox News guest Dan Bongino, for a counterterrorism post.
To refresh your memory about Clarke, here’s an excerpt from a 2019 Daily Beast story:
“While Clarke sought a White House position in 2017, he was sued by the family of an inmate who died of dehydration in his cell after being deprived of water for a week. The sheriff allegedly approved denying water. He was also slapped with a lawsuit from a woman whose unborn child died while she was in his custody.
“And in June 2017, a jury awarded $6.7 million to a woman who alleged being raped multiple times by a guard in Sheriff Clarke’s Milwaukee County jail.
“That same year, Clarke was investigated by the FBI for allegedly abusing his authority when he ordered a subordinate to intimidate a fellow airline passenger who personally insulted the sheriff.”
Bongino is a former Secret Service agent and author, most recently of “Exonerated: The Failed Takedown of President Donald Trump by the Swamp.” A year earlier, he was the co-author of “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump.” Ho-kay. Bye, Dan.
So, Mrs. Roberts, I barely knew ye, and for that I am truly grateful.
— Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with Creators Syndicate.