Monday, January 14, 2013

Thomas breaks his silence

It seems Justice Clarence Thomas finally broke his longstanding silence during oral argument today. He didn't quite make seven full years without saying a word during those sessions in which lawyers make their case in person before the Supreme Court. Now, it appears, everyone just wants to know what he said (the court transcript only recorded part of his remark).

I found this tidbit in Adam Liptak's article more interesting.

In his 2007 memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” he wrote that he never asked questions in college or law school and that he was intimidated by some of his fellow students.
I was painfully shy and insecure in my youth. (These days, I'm just shy and insecure.) Nevertheless, during college I found the courage to ask questions now and again. Not often, but sometimes.

Thomas declared in his memoirs that he had made a mistake by attending Yale Law School. Perhaps his bitter feelings toward Yale stem from his having failed to take full advantage of his time there. Exchanging views with one's classmates and instructors is part of the learning experience.

Obviously I don't know what goes on in the Justices' private deliberations; Thomas may be quite the chatterbox. I hope he is, even though I vehemently disagree with the vast majority of opinions he has written or joined. You see, if he's as silent during those private deliberations as he is during oral arguments, it tells me he doesn't care enough about influencing his fellow Justices to bother challenging their opinions. That, in turn, would suggest he doesn't care a great deal about his job. If that's so, he has no business being on the bench.

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