Justice Clarence Thomas absent from US Supreme Court session

FILE PHOTO: Group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was not on the bench on Monday as the other eight justices heard arguments, with no reason given for his absence.

Thomas, 75, is the oldest and longest-serving member of the court and is part of its 6-3 conservative majority. He was appointed to the top U.S. judicial body in 1991 by Republican President George H.W. Bush.

Chief Justice John Roberts noted the absence of Thomas at the beginning of the arguments in the first of two cases before the court on Monday, but did not offer an explanation. Roberts said Thomas would "participate fully" in the cases by using the written legal briefs and the transcripts of the arguments.

A court spokeswoman did not provide additional information.

The court often gives a reason for a justice's absence, including illness.

One of the cases before the court on Monday concerned a challenge to the scope of a federal anti-bribery law involving James Snyder, the former mayor of Portage, Indiana, who is appealing his conviction.

Thomas previously missed arguments in March 2022 when he was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms and diagnosed with an infection.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York and John Kruzel in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham)