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Clarence Thomas is obligated to announce reasonings for his absence from SCOTUS hearings (Op-Ed)

Although there are differing opinions on the degree of privacy government officials and public individuals should have, there is a general consensus and accepted idea that those making legislative decisions or contributing to public hearings with policy-altering outcomes should be open and transparent about their participation. 

This idea does not seem to resonate well with Clarence Thomas, an associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Justice Thomas inexplicably missed a SCOTUS session on Monday with no explanation. This is a glaring contradiction to previous absences that were explained with medical reasoning- a perfectly acceptable reason- and does not reflect positively on the justice’s long-standing membership in the court. 

It is incredibly important to maintain transparency and accountability among all government officials and members of the U.S. justice system through every level, from local to federal, especially for the highest court in the land. It is the responsibility of these individuals to maintain a healthy level of communication with the public, and to exercise honesty and proactive relationship-building with those who are most affected by their work. 

If Justice Thomas is unable to continue to fulfill his duties to the best and fullest extent possible, he should be subjected to a just and swift examination of his mental, emotional and physical wellbeing as one of the nine most powerful individuals in the nation, with appropriate action taken accordingly in the form of an excused absence or full removal from the Court if need be.

With hot-button issues pressing further and further, especially in this election year, the U.S. deserves to feel full faith in a functional and reliable court that is not bogged down with individuals who are not equipped to serve this country in the best way possible. 

With the privilege of a lifetime appointment, it is essential to hold these justices to a higher standard through their work ethic and public image, not allowing them to coast by on preconceived ideas that they may be invincible to the acknowledgement and criticism of their actions.

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