The Supreme Court’s longest-serving justice, Clarence Thomas, resumed hearing oral arguments in person this week after his recent abrupt hospitalization.
Thomas’ return was marked by his opening questions during oral arguments on the case United States vs. Washington Monday. Thomas’ voice was conspicuously absent from discussions during the last two weeks of March. Thomas was released from hospital on March 25, a week after being admitted with an infection causing flu-like symptoms.
Supreme Court officials have remained silent regarding Thomas’ medical condition, aside from brief statements about his expected discharge date from the hospital.
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NEW: Clarence Thomas is back on the bench this morning after being hospitalized last month and missing some closing arguments. As this term has become customary, Thomas asks the first question today. The court still gave little information about why Thomas was in the hospital.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) April 18, 2022
Thomas appeared to be in high spirits earlier this month when he met Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker in his first near-public appearance since being released from hospital.
Oral arguments on Monday began the final list of April cases the Supreme Court will hear for the 2021-22 term. The court will continue to make decisions on several important cases until the end of June, when Justice Stephen Breyer is expected to step down to allow his successor, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, to take his place for the fall session.
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The justices will hear several high-profile cases over the next two weeks, including the court’s first review of Trump-era immigration policy, a First Amendment case over whether a football coach from a public school has the right to pray in the field, and a case about a procedural dispute arising from a police officer’s failure to issue a Miranda warning.