Roberts Makes a Federal Case of 'OK, Boomer'

Chief justice used the phrase in a question during arguments
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2020 6:00 PM CST
'OK, Boomer' Makes Its Debut at Supreme Court
John Roberts introduced a new term into Supreme Court arguments on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In case you're wondering whether the phrase "OK, boomer" is over yet, the chief justice of the United States has used it in a sentence. John Roberts worked it into oral arguments in an age discrimination case at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Vice reports. "Let's say in the course of the, you know, weeks-long process, you know, one comment about age, you know, the hiring person is younger, says, you know, 'OK, boomer,' you know, once to the — to the applicant," Roberts asked, evoking laughter. "Is that actionable?" Databases of Supreme Court arguments showed that to be the first use of the previously trendy insult, per CBS. The lawyer for a woman who says Veterans Affairs denied her chances for advancement because of her age and gender, answered yes, basically. "OK, boomer" would indicate scorn for an older job candidate, he said, and show potential discrimination.

Roberts seemed to think that stance is not OK. "Your position is going to become a really just a regulation of speech in the workplace," the chief justice said, per the Hill. The court's decision will affect the way federal workers can claim age discrimination in their employment. Roberts is a baby boomer himself; he turns 65 next week. (Not everyone is amused by the phrase.)

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