Court Battles

Justice Thomas participates remotely in oral arguments amid ongoing scrutiny

Justice Clarence Thomas participated remotely in oral arguments on Monday, three days after the Supreme Court said he was released from the hospital following treatment for an infection and as he faces ongoing ethical scrutiny.

The announcement was made by Chief Justice John Roberts prior to the start of arguments. A court spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for more information on Thomas’s health status. 

Thomas, 73, was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., on March 18 after experiencing “flu-like symptoms.” He was diagnosed with an infection, treated with intravenous antibiotics and released on Friday.

Thomas and his wife, Virginia Thomas, drew headlines last week after revelations of his wife’s aggressive effort to help overturn former President Trump’s electoral defeat intensified scrutiny over the justice’s refusal to step aside from related cases before the Supreme Court.

An analysis by The Hill determined that, between November 2020 and February 2022, Thomas participated in at least 10 rulings related to the 2020 presidential election, without any indication of him recusing.

In January of this year, Thomas raised eyebrows as the only justice who indicated that he would have granted Trump’s request to keep a trove of his administration’s records under wraps. That 8-1 ruling came in a dispute over an effort by the House committee investigating the circumstances of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot to obtain Trump-era records from the National Archives.

His vote drew renewed attention last week after it was reported that, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, Virginia Thomas exchanged dozens of text messages with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that appeared to show her strategizing over how to bypass the will of American voters to install Trump for a second White House term despite his loss to President Biden, an outcome she described as an “obvious fraud” and “the greatest heist of our history.”

The revelations have prompted growing calls for Thomas to recuse himself from future cases involving disputes over the 2020 election and Jan. 6 insurrection.

“You have the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice advocating for an insurrection, advocating for overturning a legal election to the sitting president’s chief of staff and she also knows this election, these cases, are going to come before her husband. This is a textbook case for removing him, recusing him from these decisions,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” 

Tags Amy Klobuchar Capitol riot Clarence Thomas Donald Trump Jan. 6 panel Joe Biden Mark Meadows Supreme Court

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