Clarence Thomas hits five years without asking a question
Reporting from Washington —
Eight justices of the Supreme Court engaged in a fast-paced argument Tuesday morning over whether a female microbiologist who tried to poison her husband’s lover with a toxic chemical could be charged under a federal law intended to regulate chemical weapons.
And one justice, as usual, said nothing during the argument. Tuesday marked five years since Justice Clarence Thomas last asked a question during the court’s oral arguments.
Thomas speaks in the court only on the few occasions during the year when he is called upon to read a decision. Throughout his nearly 20 years on the bench, he has sat silently and watched as his colleagues quiz the lawyers on their cases.
When asked to explain his silence, Thomas has said the oral arguments are unnecessary to deciding the cases, and perhaps even a sideshow. The justices rely on the written briefs and the lower-court opinions in making their decisions, he says. He has also suggested that more of his colleagues should follow his example, rather than interrupt the lawyers who making their arguments