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Clarence Thomas Health Update: Stephen Breyer Speaks Out Amid Speculation

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


There has been a ton of speculation and rumors since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was taken to the hospital.

Now his retiring colleague, Justice Stephen Breyer, has said that Justice Thomas is not in danger of going back to the hospital, MSN reported.

TMZ reported Thursday that Breyer said the 73-year-old Supreme Court Justice was fine, barely a week after he was hospitalized on March 18, after he experienced flu-like symptoms.

“Justice Clarence Thomas was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington D.C., on Friday evening after experiencing flu-like symptoms,” the Supreme Court said on March 20.

“He underwent tests, was diagnosed with an infection and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics,” it said. “His symptoms are abating, he is resting comfortably, and he expected to be released from the hospital in a day or two.”

“Justice 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,” it said.

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But Justice Thomas was admitted to the hospital on March 18 and the Supreme Court did not explain why it waited to make the announcement.

“The court said Sunday that the 73-year-old Thomas had been admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington on Friday after experiencing flu-like symptoms, and he was diagnosed with an infection. His symptoms are abating, and he was expected to be released Monday or Tuesday, the court said in a statement at the time. But on Wednesday morning, court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said she had no update to provide,” the Associated Press reported.

“The court heard arguments Wednesday morning and Chief Justice John Roberts said, as he has for the past two days, that while Thomas was not present he would participate in the case by reviewing the arguments’ transcript and briefs. Roberts said Thomas was unable to be present today without explanation. Thomas did not have COVID-19 and his infection was being treated with intravenous antibiotics, the court has said,” it said.

The court’s public information officer, Patricia McCabe, said Thomas’s illness isn’t related to COVID-19, according to The Washington Post. He is vaccinated and has received a booster shot.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court declined to say whether Thomas remains in hospital, though he had been expected to be released by Tuesday evening.

Thomas, a conservative appointed by former Republican President George H.W. Bush, has been on the Supreme Court since 1991—and is now its longest-serving member. He is the second African-American to serve on the court after Thurgood Marshall, who he succeeded.

As the Supreme Court has become more conservative, Thomas’s right-wing views have become more influential.

Thomas has missed four days of oral arguments, as the Senate Judiciary Committee this week is holding confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. U.S. President Joe Biden nominated Jackson to replace Breyer, who intends to retire at the end of the court’s current term. At 83 years old, Breyer is the oldest justice in the court.

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This month, during an address in Utah sponsored by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, Thomas warned about the leftist cultural onslaught and warned that future generations will pay the price if the Supreme Court is overcome.

“My fear isn’t for me. But it is for your kids and your grandkids and the next generation. What are we going to leave them? Are we leaving them a mess or are we leaving them a country? Are we leaving them chaos or are we going to leave them a court?” he said.

Thomas tore into liberals pushing the idea of rigging the court’s structure to produce specific political outcomes, arguing it’s damaging even if it never gets beyond the talking stage.

“You can cavalierly talk about packing or stacking the court. You can cavalierly talk about doing this or doing that. At some point, the institution is going to be compromised,” he said.

A court that is structured to be a rubber stamp is “no court at all. That’s no rule of law at all. That’s just willfulness. I don’t see how that is conducive to having a free and civil society.”

“You can’t keep taking chips out of your institutions and not expect it to, at some point, be compromised. At some point, it can’t keep withstanding the efforts to undermine,” Thomas said.

“Let’s be honest,” he said about the effort to pack the court to make it permanently lean to the left. “This is really about the results they want. They haven’t been able to make the institutions do what they want, to give them what they want.”

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