Justice Thomas's illness not COVID-19, court says

Justice Clarence Thomas, who was absent from Supreme Court oral arguments Monday due to illness, does not have COVID-19, a court spokesperson confirmed.

Thomas, 73, was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Friday evening with flu-like symptoms and diagnosed with an infection, a Supreme Court spokesperson said in a statement Sunday, adding that he was being treated with intravenous antibiotics.

Reuters first reported on Monday that the illness was not COVID-19. All the justices have been fully vaccinated.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced Thomas's absence from a pair of in-person hearings prior to the start of arguments on Monday.

"Justice Thomas is unable to be present today but will participate in consideration and decision of the cases on the basis of the briefs and the transcripts of oral argument," Roberts said.

A court spokesperson on Sunday said of Thomas: "His symptoms are abating, he is resting comfortably, and he expects to be released from the hospital in a day or two."

The spokesperson declined to provide additional details on Monday about the conservative justice's health or timing of his return, other than to say he did not have COVID-19.