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SCOTUS clarifies Justice Clarence Thomas was not hospitalized with COVID

  Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized Friday with "flu-like symptoms" but is expected to be released soon, the ...

 Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized Friday with "flu-like symptoms" but is expected to be released soon, the court said in a statement on Sunday.

Thomas, 73, was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., the court said. "He underwent tests, was diagnosed with an infection, and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics. His symptoms are abating, he is resting comfortably, and he expects to be released from the hospital in a day or two."

A Supreme Court spokesperson told CNN Thomas' illness "is not COVID related."

"The Justice does not have COVID," the spokesperson said.

Like the other eight justices, Thomas has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and also received booster shots.

While Thomas will miss some oral arguments, the court said he will participate in cases he cannot be physically present for through briefs, transcripts, and audio recordings. His temporary absence will not change the balance of the court. 

News of Thomas' hospitalization was greeted with well-wishes and prayers from conservatives.

"Join me in praying for a quick recovery for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who was hospitalized on Friday with an infection," wrote evangelical leader Franklin Graham on Twitter.

"Pray for Clarence Thomas. The single best Justice we could ever dream of. May the legend live to see his 200th birthday!" said Tennessee congressional candidate Robby Starbuck.

Justice Thomas has earned a reputation as the most reliable conservative voice on the court, hated by the left as much as he is beloved by the right.

He has served on the Supreme Court since 1991, when he was nominated by President George H. W. Bush. His confirmation hearings, led by then-Senator Joe Biden, were highly contentious and intensely fought. Democrats featured testimony from attorney Anita Hill, who alleged that Thomas had sexually harassed her and made unwanted romantic overtures towards her. Republicans accused Hill and witnesses on her behalf of fabricating the allegations to stop the appointment of a black conservative to the Supreme Court. Speaking for himself, Thomas famously called the confirmation hearings a "high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves."

As Thomas recovers from his illness, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom President Joe Biden has nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first black woman to serve on the high court.

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