Justice Thomas Back on Bench After Missing 2 Weeks of Arguments

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
April 18, 2022Updated: April 18, 2022

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas resumed hearing oral arguments in person on April 18 for the first time since being hospitalized with what the court described as a non-COVID-19 infection.

Thomas, 73, joined the court’s eight other justices as they opened a two-week session.

The George H.W. Bush appointee asked the first question during the first case, which deals with whether a Washington state workers’ compensation provision can apply to federal contractors without running afoul of the U.S. Constitution.

Thomas, the longest-serving member of the court, didn’t address his absence from the court.

Thomas was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington on March 18 after experiencing flu-like symptoms, according to a court spokesperson. The justice was diagnosed with an infection and was treated with intravenous antibiotics.

Thomas didn’t have COVID-19, Patricia McCabe, a court spokeswoman, told The Epoch Times at the time.

The court initially said Thomas was scheduled to be released after three or four days of treatment, but he ended up staying at the hospital for a week.

The court has declined to share additional details about Thomas’s health ordeal. The hospital declined to comment, and the justice’s wife, Ginni Thomas, hasn’t returned requests for comment.

During each day of arguments that Thomas was hospitalized, Chief Justice John Roberts said the justice was “unable to be present today” but didn’t say why.

After Thomas was released, he participated in arguments remotely.

The court has said he will participate in the consideration and discussion of all cases that were heard when he was hospitalized.

Justice Stephen Breyer, a Clinton appointee and the court’s current oldest member, joined Thomas and the others on April 18.

Breyer plans to step down following the current term.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, appointed by President Joe Biden to replace Breyer, was confirmed by the Senate earlier in April and is poised to join the court once Breyer retires.

Matthew Vadum contributed to this report.