Justice Clarence Thomas recused himself for the first time from a case involving the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by then-President Donald Trump’s supporters as the Supreme Court rejected an appeal brought by former Trump legal adviser John Eastman.

Thomas, under fire over claims of ethical lapses, faced criticism last year for participating when the court dismissed Trump’s bid to prevent White House documents from being handed over to the House committee investigating Jan. 6 because his wife, conservative political activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, had been a vocal supporter of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Eastman, who once served as Thomas’ law clerk, had asked the court to throw out a lower court ruling that allowed his former employer to provide the committee with emails related to contesting the election.

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