Clarence Thomas Should Shut Up

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has officially jumped the snark. He has traversed so far past the horizon of satire that he can’t be made fun of anymore.

Thomas has long kept tongues wagging about how little wagging his tongue does while on the bench. The Wall Street Journal reports that…

“Through about 20 oral arguments this term, Justice Thomas has yet to ask a question from the bench […] Last term, through 68 hours of oral arguments, he didn’t say a thing either. The last time Thomas asked a question: Feb. 22, 2006.”

In almost two years, not a peep from Justice Thomas, even during a case that involved the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which he headed during the Reagan administration. We know that there is nothing wrong with his vocal chords because he speaks in the private sector far more frequently than his fellow justices. In one of those speeches (delivered this week for $100.00 per seat), Thomas defended his silence by attacking his benchmates:

“My colleagues should shut up!” he exclaimed.

Then Thomas drew an absurd analogy between judges and surgeons saying that doctors don’t engage in seminars while in the operating room. If that’s an example of Thomas’ logical acuity we’re in bigger trouble than we thought. Doctors do, of course, have conferences to toss around theories and arguments for how to proceed before they ever step foot in an operating room. That’s a better analogy for what happens when justices conduct hearings. Justices in deliberations and composing their opinions would be more analogous to the operating room. But it doesn’t seem like Thomas even understands the duties required of him when he says…

“We are judges. This is the last court in a long line in our system. We are there to decide cases, not to engage in seminar discussions.”

Wrong, Clarence. You are there to assemble a thorough knowledge of the competing interests that the case presents. You ask questions in order to construct a legal foundation from which to form an opinion. You don’t decide the case until after you’ve heard the advocates from both sides and tested their legal arguments.

What a sad state of affairs that we have such an ill-informed and intellectually incurious member of our country’s highest court. We can only hope that he will develop a renewed appreciation for his family and resign to spend more time with them.