Domestic Diversions

Questions, answers: You want answers? I want the truth! You can’t handle the truth! [A Few Good Men (1992)]

CNN and all other media outlets have reported on United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas breaking his nearly seven-year silence on Monday during oral arguments.

CNN reported (excerpt): “The next words were hard to hear in the back-and-forth between the justices. But Thomas made a joke about the competence of Yale lawyers when compared to their Harvard colleagues, according to two witnesses.”

The Huffington Post noted several years ago that Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked more questions during her first day of arguments than Justice Thomas had in years.

The Huffington Post reported (excerpt): “Sotomayor displayed no reticence on the first day of her first term on the court; in the two cases on the docket, she asked as many questions and made as many comments as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The only sign of her newness was that she at times forgot to turn on her microphone before posing a question.”

As NPR’s Nina Totenberg discovered oral arguments are perceived differently from each side of the bench: “Chief Justice Roberts, who for years was among the finest Supreme Court advocates, conceded that asking questions as a justice is a lot “less nerve-racking” than answering questions as a lawyer. “Stupid questions,” from a justice, he observed, are “a lot less harmful than giving stupid answers.””

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