Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, 73, was reported resting comfortably Monday after being hospitalized over the weekend.
Thomas “was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Friday evening after experiencing flu-like symptoms,” according to a news release from the Supreme Court.
“He underwent tests, was diagnosed with an infection and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics. His symptoms are abating, he is resting comfortably, and he expects to be released from the hospital in a day or two,” the release said.
“Justice Thomas 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 release said.
Patricia McCabe, a spokeswoman for the court, said Thomas’ illness was not related to COVID-19, according to The New York Times.
Thomas is a member of the court’s conservative wing, which currently has a majority on the court. His hospitalization comes as the Senate begins its confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who has been nominated by President Joe Biden to fill the seat being vacated by the upcoming retirement of Stephen Breyer.
A book on Thomas includes an anecdote in which Jackson, now a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, contrasted herself with Thomas.
“‘You sound like my parents. You sound like the people I grew up with.’ But the lessons he tended to draw from the experiences of the segregated South seemed to be different than those of everybody I know,” the book said Jackson thought as she lunched once with Thomas, according to ABC.
“My fear isn’t for me. But it is for your kids and your grandkids and the next generation. What are we going to leave them? Are we leaving them a mess or are we leaving them a country? Are we leaving them chaos or are we going to leave them a court?” he said.
Thomas said political rhetoric about rigging the court’s structure to produce specific political outcomes is damaging.
“You can cavalierly talk about packing or stacking the court. You can cavalierly talk about doing this or doing that. At some point, the institution is going to be compromised,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
Thomas said that debate and disagreement, upon which democracy is based, are now considered wrong.
“I’m afraid, particularly in this world of cancel culture attack, I don’t know where you’re going to learn to engage as we did when I grew up,” he said, according to the AP. “If you don’t learn at that level in high school, in grammar school, in your neighborhood, or in civic organizations, then how do you have it when you’re making decisions in government, in the legislature, or in the courts?”
Massive prayers for the GOAT Clarence Thomas pic.twitter.com/mxamxlRfC3
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) March 21, 2022
Thomas noted that colleges have evolved into places stocked with “people who actually seem quite full of themselves. Now it’s sort of this animus develops if you disagree.”
“If you can’t do it on a university campus, where do you learn civility? Where do you learn to disagree without being disagreeable?” he said, according to the Deseret News.
Thomas said he recently discussed with one of his clerks the perception that Thomas has “conservative, white ideas.”
“That’s really interesting. I didn’t know that there were these particular ideas that were off-limits — you get, like, ‘white-only’ water fountains, now you get ‘white-only’ ideas. The more things change the more they remain the same,” he said.
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