Oh Clarence where art thou?

I’d forgotten about this. Justice Thomas doesn’t engage in oral argument. And indeed, he didn’t ask a single question in two days.

14 responses to “Oh Clarence where art thou?

  1. Has Thomas ever asked a question? Remember the hilarious bits in Boston Legal where James Spader (playing Alan Shore) tried to get him to speak.


  2. That crossed my mind too. What does that say about him…? Is he the slacker judge of SCOTUS? 🙂


    • No one’s ever been able to figure it out . . . he writes very vigorous learned opinions. He just doesn’t ask questions – maybe he makes up his mind before argument??


      • He does seem to have made up his mind in the health care case.


      • By his own account he has already made his decisions in the matter before the point where the oral arguments are held in the proceedings. He’s never been shy about stating that he sees no point in them since all the matters of the case have already been submitted in written form and the oral arguments are, largely, just attempts to sway the court with emotions.

        He does, however, listen to them since he’s referenced them in his opinions quite often. I don’t know if they’ve ever changed his mind though.


        • He’s probalbyl right that the hundreds of pages of briefs they’ve already been poring through is what they base their decisions on, but I guess Thomas has no appreciation or respect for the tradition, the courtesy of oral argument. Getting your day in Court and all that.


          • None whatsoever. He’s stated more than once that such things are just a distraction and an attempt to supplant the law with emotion at the Appellate level and above.

            He takes, whenever possible – he’s broke his own “rules” upon rare occasions, such a cross burning case a decade ago – a mechanical approach to the law. What are the facts and what is the law?


            • I think it’s perfectly proper to take that ‘mechanical’ view. I’m sure he shares that with many other jurists.

              But I think he takes it a step further when he doesn’t acknowledge that cultural dynamics have always played a part in the formation of laws.

              And I am a fan of tradition; he could at least pretend.


    • Well…what about those rumors I’ve heard that he’s been known to nap during hearings…?


      • Well, if you don’t beleive in argument (see jonolans comment above) and don’t care what everyone is saying it would be easy to nod off.


  3. To seems like a silent Jabba the Hutt in the robe.


  4. He doesn’t need to ask questions in court because his Tea Party wife Virginia tells him what to think.


    • Brings up a whole other issue . . . should he have recused himself. But of course, if he had, Kagan would have been under enormous pressure to do the same. (So I guess that ultimately it wouldn’t matter)


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