Justice Clarence Thomas’ Decade Of Silence

Justice Clarence Thomas, ideological ally of former Justice Scalia, goes ten years without asking a question on the bench.

By Bronte Price, PoliticKING

Monday marks the ten year anniversary of Justice Clarence Thomas not asking a single question from the bench. The last time Thomas asked a question was during arguments on a death penalty case on Feb. 22, 2006. According to MSNBC, no other justice in modern history has gone longer than a term without asking a single question during oral arguments. “I just think that it’s more in my nature to listen rather than to ask a bunch of questions,” Thomas told high school students in 2000. “And they get asked anyway.”

At an event sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society in 2013, Thomas told Judge Diane S. Sykes, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit In 2013, "My closest ally and friend when I got there was Justice Scalia."

Justices Thomas and Scalia sat next to each other on the Supreme Court bench. Starting on Monday, Scalia’s seat will be draped in black for 30 days. The justices will then change seats to reflect the new order of seniority.

In 2012, Scalia defended Thomas, telling Piers Morgan that when he was a younger lawyer he appeared before the Justices and was only asked two questions. "It was not at all unusual for justices not to ask questions," Scalia said. "Thurgood Marshall rarely asked a question. Bill Brennan rarely asked questions," Scalia continued. "Leave Clarence alone!"

Carrie Severino, a former clerk for Thomas said that when Thomas took the bench, Scalia felt like he was “the first line of reinforcement after years of fighting alone in the trenches to defend the original understanding of the Constitution." She continued that "Neither Justice Samuel Alito, nor Chief Justice John Roberts have the same level of commitment to the theory."

Here's what Larry Flynt has to say about the future of the Supreme Court:

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