Justice Thomas Speaks for 1st Time Since 2006

He appeared to have been making a joke
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 14, 2013 3:00 PM CST
Justice Thomas Speaks for 1st Time Since 2006
Seated from left are Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – Justice Clarence Thomas did something at a Supreme Court argument today for the first time in nearly seven years—he spoke. But what Thomas said is not clear; he appears to have joked about Ivy League lawyers. The argument transcript only records four words. It quotes Thomas as saying, "Well, he did not..." Several justices laughed in response. Louisiana lawyer Carla Sigler replied: "I would refute that, Justice Thomas."

Two lawyers in the courtroom said Thomas was joking about Ivy League law school graduates, although one said it was at the expense of Thomas' alma mater, Yale, and the other said rival Harvard was the butt of the joke. The Wall Street Journal reports that witnesses heard him say something along the lines of, "Well, he did not have competent counsel, then." Thomas hasn't asked a question in court since February 22, 2006. (Read more Clarence Thomas stories.)

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