Justice Clarence Thomas Missing from Start of New Supreme Court Term Due to 'Illness'


Justice Clarence Thomas did not attend Monday’s opening of the new Supreme Court session due to illness.

Reuters reported that Chief Justice John Roberts told those on hand for oral arguments that Thomas, 71, was “indisposed.”

The chief justice added that Thomas would be participating in the ruling for the cases argued on Monday.

A court spokeswoman said that Thomas likely has the flu.

The justice was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and is the court’s longest-serving member.

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Thomas is part of the 5 to 4 conservative majority currently serving in the highest tribunal in the land.

Following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in the summer of 2018, Roberts took up the role of swing vote on the court, albeit from a more conservative position.

In February, he sided with the liberal justices by blocking the implementation of a Louisiana law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Roberts also voted with the left-wing members of the court earlier this summer to effectively block a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census.

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Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest member of the court at 86, followed by Justice Stephen Breyer at 81 and then Thomas.

Ginsburg has had multiple health scares over the last several months, including being diagnosed and treated for lung cancer in December 2018.

She returned to the bench in late February with a reported clean bill of health.

A cancerous tumor was also found on her pancreas this summer, for which she received radiation treatment in August, NPR reported.

The justice has previously survived colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.

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Ginsburg was present for Monday’s opening session and participated in questioning.

In July 2018, she hinted at a timeline for her retirement. “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years,” she said during an interview.

If Ginsburg left the court at 90, that would fall in a potential second term for Trump.

So far Trump has successfully appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

Last month, Trump placed his 150th judge on the federal bench, outpacing all recent presidents — with the exception of Bill Clinton — at the same point in their time in office.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith