The Who2 Blog

‘Silent Clare’?

“Two years and 142 cases have passed since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last spoke up at oral arguments,” reports the Associated Press (via CNN). “The last time Thomas asked a question in court was Feb. 22, 2006, in a death penalty case out of South Carolina.”

Justice Thomas didn’t comment for the article, but recently told the Federalist Society, “One thing I’ve demonstrated often in 16 years is you can do this job without asking a single question.”

Thomas’s long quiet stretch invites comparison with “Silent Cal,” President Calvin Coolidge.

Thomas has been criticized for his silence, and has responded, in the past. Last year U.S. News covered Thomas’s comments at Hillsdale College in Michigan, where he compared questions from the bench to surgeons “conducting seminars while in the operating room, debating each other about certain procedures and whether or not this procedure is this way or that way… We are there to decide cases, not to engage in seminar discussions.”

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