Saturday, May 19, 2007


Clarence Thomas, still not making any effort to actually do a big part of his job:

Justice Clarence Thomas sat through 68 hours of oral arguments in the Supreme Court's current term without uttering a word.

... the last time Thomas asked a question in court was Feb. 22, 2006, in a death penalty case out of South Carolina. A unanimous court eventually broadened the ability of death-penalty defendants to blame someone else for the crime.

Thomas has said in the past that he will ask a pertinent question if his colleagues don't but sees no need to engage in the back-and-forth just to hear his own voice.

A recent tally by McClatchy Newspapers underscored this point: Thomas has spoken 281 words since court transcripts began identifying justices by name in October 2004. By contrast, Thomas' neighbor on the bench, Justice Stephen Breyer, has uttered nearly 35,000 words since January....

Breyer was #1? Yeah, I was surprised it wasn't Antonin Blowhard, too, but the McClatchy story does say Scalia was a close second, with 30,087 words.


(1) Thomas is actually dead. We have a Weekend at Bernie's situation on our hands.

(2) Someday Thomas is just going to snap, and we're going to have a Columbine/Virginia Tech situation on our hands:

A fellow student in his playwriting class, Susan Derry, ... said Cho [Seung-Hui] never spoke in class and would only shrug if asked to talk about his work.

(3) Thomas has many brilliant, original things to say about the issues that have come before the court, but he's saving them all up for his book -- just like Bob Woodward.

Sorry, Clarence, but talking is part of what we're paying you to do. From the McClatchy story:

Justices often will force straight answers from attorneys who might prefer circumlocution.

"You're claiming that you'd be constitutionally protected even if you knew in advance that this particular communication would violate the rule and even if you did it deliberately?" Stevens asked. "That's your constitutional position, is it not?"

"Well, our ... your honor, the significance of the voluntariness ...," Blumstein began.

"Is it or is it not?" Stevens demanded.

"Yes," Blumstein said.

"It is?" Stevens pressed.

"Yes," Blumstein said. "I'm sorry. Yes."

That's how it's done. That's your job, pal. So do it.

By the way, what was it about George Bush the Elder? Why did he stick us with so many people who can't put two sentences together? Dan Quayle. Clarence Thomas. His namesake son. Is it because he couldn't talk very well, either? It's like a cheap horror movie in which a sick mad scientist tries to infest the population with carriers of his own disease.

(Story via DU. UPDATE: For first story linked above, go here.)

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