U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is famous for rarely speaking in court. In fact, he hasn't asked a single question in ten years. But he broke his silence this morning on a case about domestic violence convictions and gun rights. He directed his question toward, Ilana H. Eisentein, a lawyer for the federal government:
“Ms. Eisenstein, one question. This is a misdemeanor violation. It suspends a constitutional right. Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?”
The New York Times says Thomas doesn't speak often because he was teased about the way he talked growing up:
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He has offered shifting reasons for his 10 years of silence. In his 2007 memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” he wrote that he had never asked questions in college or law school and that he had been intimidated by some of his fellow students.
He has also said he is self-conscious about the way he speaks, partly because he had been teased about the dialect he grew up speaking in rural Georgia.
In Monday’s second argument, on judicial recusals, Justice Thomas was again quiet.