Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke a seven-year silence Monday morning when he spoke from the bench to make fun of his alma mater, Yale Law School.
Thomas, who took a seat on the Supreme Court bench in 1991, hadn't uttered a word in oral arguments Feb. 22, 2006.
On Monday, as a lawyer from Louisiana described the competency of a death penalty defense lawyer, Justice Antonin Scalia noted the attorney went to Yale law school.
Thomas quipped that a Yale degree could mean the lawyer is incompetent, not competent, reported the SCOTUSblog
that keeps track of such developments.
But not every follower of court proceedings was a thrilled as some about Thomas' utterance.
The official transcript of the hearing did not even pick up what Thomas said:
"Justice Thomas: Well – he did – not –"
Ms. Sigler: I would refute that, Justice Thomas. "
The four words on transcript were dissected in a "Talmudic" way for the rest of the day, according to the Atlantic
, as few were sure exactly what he meant. Some didn't seem to mind.
Others took issue with Thomas' politics.
It was the first time Thomas said anything since February 2006, according to the New York Times — the seven-year anniversary of the last time he spoke was just weeks away.
The Times pointed out that Thomas has long been an opponent of Yale.
In his memoir, he wrote that he once "peeled a 15-cent price sticker off a package of cigars and stuck it on the frame of my law degree to remind myself of the mistake I'd made by going to Yale."
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