On March 20, the Supreme Court announced that Justice Clarence Thomas has been hospitalized with “flu-like symptoms.” He is being treated with antibiotics for an infection and is still expected to participate in ruling on any cases for which he may miss oral arguments. This news comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to begin the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was recently nominated by President Joe Biden to join the bench.
The Court did not release a statement until late Sunday evening, two days after Thomas’ admittance to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC on Friday, March 18. The release said that “he underwent tests, was diagnosed with an infection, and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics.” It further stated that:
“His symptoms are abating, he is resting comfortably, and he expects to be released from the hospital in a day or two.”
Monday, March 21, the Court will hear arguments in the case Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. Although Thomas is likely to be in the hospital while proceedings take place, the press release notes that he “will participate in the consideration and discussion of any cases for which he is not present on the basis of the briefs, transcripts, and audio of the oral arguments.”
The justices will also hear oral arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Thomas is the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court, having sat on its benches for more than 30 years. He is the second oldest justice on the Court at age 73, ten years younger than the oldest, Stephen Breyer, who is set to retire at the end of the present Court session.