U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas‘ hospitalization has been longer than predicted, prompting further questions and speculation about his health. His extended hospital stay in Washington, D.C., comes as a new COVID-19 variant is surging around the globe and in parts of the U.S.
Thomas, 73, has been a patient at Sibley Memorial Hospital for nearly a full week despite a statement from the U.S. Supreme Court saying he would be released “in a day or two” following his admission last Friday. The Court’s statement would only say that Thomas has been diagnosed with an unspecified “infection,” making no mention of COVID-19. The statement was released Sunday, sparking chatter about why the Court would wait more than two days to announce Thomas’ hospitalization to the public.
The statement went on to declare that 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.”
But on Wednesday, Thomas missed the Court’s oral argument in an absence that was seemingly glossed over by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who would only say that “Justice Thomas is unable to be present today,” according to a report from the Washington Post.
Roberts reportedly said Thomas will still be involved in the cases he missed by “relying on briefs and transcripts of the hearings,” the Post reported.
But it’s unclear when Thomas would begin work on those cases since he remained hospitalized as of Thursday morning.
Thomas’ hospitalization has coincided with the arrival of a new COVID-19 variant which is a combination of the ultra contagious delta and omicron variants. Called BA.2, the new variant is to blame for more than half of the new COVID-19 cases in the northeast, according to a new report released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
All U.S. Supreme Court justices have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and received subsequent booster shots, but the delta and omicron variants at times proved to be resistant to the vaccines, resulting in so-called breakthrough infections.
Nowhere has it been reported that Thomas has COVID-19. Quite the contrary, the mainstream media narrative surrounding Thomas’ hospitalization has emphasized — without proof — that he does not have COVID-19. Further, the Supreme Court’s statement neither mentioned the coronavirus nor the pandemic.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Thomas fell ill in the same week it was reported that his wife confirmed she was present at the controversial Jan. 6 rally that sparked the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last year.
The revelation renewed calls for Thomas to recuse himself from the Supreme Court on the alleged basis he is partial to former President Donald Trump and sympathetic to Republicans. All judges are expected to be impartial.
Ginni Thomas’ verified presence at the Jan. 6 rally also sparked calls for her husband’s impeachment in part, Mehdi Hassan wrote in an op-ed for MSNBC, because she “has worked as a GOP operative.”
Ginni Thomas has insisted she played no role in planning the rally, but there is undisputed evidence she — at the very least — cheered on as white supremacists illegally broke into the U.S. Capitol in what became a deadly siege. Ginni Thomas referred to the insurrectionists as “patriots,” to whom she sent her “love.”
All of the above is certainly enough to make someone sick to their stomach, but perhaps not to the point of hospitalization, fueling social media suspicions that Thomas is actually being treated for COVID-19.
The entire ordeal has been unfolding as Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have been espousing racist rhetoric in a failed effort to discredit the overqualified Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during her historic confirmation hearing. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman Supreme Court justice and just the third Black Supreme Court justice overall.
And, of yeah, she would also become colleagues with Thomas, a prospect that critics probably joke may have prompted his hospitalization considering the justice’s track record with at least one other prominent Black woman.
This is America.