Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is a conservative legal scholar who is known for his silence during oral arguments. For more than 10 years, he has remained silent on the court.
Liberals have criticized him in the pages of the American Prospect, The New Yorker, and LA Times to make fun of “the silent Justice.” They consider it a disgraceful insult and use it to insult his intelligence.
But in the wake of fellow Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Thomas is no longer silent! As one of the four remaining conservatives on the bench, he asked a handful of questions during the first oral arguments of Stephen Vosinine v. the United States, an important gun rights case.
This is incredible, and a powerful way to honor the late Justice Scalia:
Justice Clarence Thomas asked a series of questions from the Supreme Court bench during oral arguments on Monday, the first time in 10 years he has done so.
Thomas asked the attorney for the federal government at least 12 questions during the second half of Monday’s oral arguments in a gun rights case, shocking observers used to the conservative’s public silence during cases.
“Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?” Thomas asked Assistant to the Solicitor General Ilana Eisenstein, according to court transcripts.
The questions were notable in coming after the death of fellow conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who was known for interrogating lawyers at oral arguments.
Via The Hill
The case is about two people who were convicted of domestic violence crimes, and subsequently denied the ability to own a firearm, even though the crimes were misdemeanors, not felonies. The court is going to decide if misdemeanor domestic abuse is enough to take away their Second Amendment liberties.
Justice Scalia was a critical voice in the famous 2008 Heller case, which found Washington D.C.’s total gun ban to be unconstitutional. Now, it appears Justice Thomas is taking a more active and vocal role in defending the rights that Scalia spent a long career defending:
What do you think about Justice Thomas breaking his silence? Please leave us a comment (below) and tell us!