Clarence Thomas Released After Week-Long Hospital Stay

(Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was released Friday morning from Sibley Memorial Hospital, the Court’s press office announced.

Thomas was first hospitalized March 18 with “flu-like symptoms” and was treated with IV antibiotics for an infection, the Supreme Court said Sunday. The press office initially said that he expected to be discharged “in a day or two,” but the extended stay gave rise to speculation about Thomas’ condition. The Court’s longest-serving justice will catch up on missed oral arguments by reading through briefs and transcripts, according to Chief Justice John Roberts.

Before Friday’s announcement, the only update on Thomas’ condition came from fellow Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who told a TMZ reporter on Wednesday, “I think he’s fine.”

First confirmed to the bench in 1991, Thomas will be the oldest justice at the end of the current term, when Breyer retires. As the longest-serving justice, Thomas assigns majority opinions when Roberts is in the minority. (RELATED: ‘Half-In, Half-Out’: Clarence Thomas Calls Out Marijuana Laws, Suggests They Might Not Be Constitutional)

Thomas was long known for his extended silences on the bench, once going ten years without asking a question. In recent terms, he has spoken up more in oral arguments, questioning what part of the Constitution protects the right to an abortion. He has also speculated about the rights of social media platforms to block users.