Continuing with our Supreme Court justice theme, I’ll just mention that, “as is his custom,” it has been more than six years since Clarence Thomas asked a question during oral arguments. As is my custom, let me say how incredibly asinine this feels to me. Apparently, Thomas has no use for the theatre of questioning since he has already made up his mind going into the oral arguments. So, as he explains it:
I refuse to participate. I don’t like it, so I don’t do it.
Must be nice, that Take Prisoners routine. Look, Clarence, I’m not saying there isn’t the odd showboat colleague on the bench. Nor am I going to suggest that the other justices go into the oral arguments looking to figure out where they’ll come down on an issue; it’s probably fair to say they already know. (And despite it being wholly irrelevant, I’ll also grudgingly mention that you are known for your personal kindness and affability.) And yet: there’s something disingenuous (and maybe even outrageous) about your studied silence in court in the face of your exceptionally vocal off-duty airing of your views — accepting lavish gifts from major donors to support your wife’s anti-Obamacare lobbying organization and ‘related’ pet projects, for example. (And how handy not having to adhere to the ethics regulations of lower-court judges!) It seems like it wouldn’t be asking a whole lot of you to ask a question once in a while in the one venue where your thought process might actually be of interest to the average citizen. Seriously, just humor us! Throw a curveball once in a while. Is it too much to ask for a tiny smidge of transparency? Some attempt to help us understand how the machinery of democracy really works? Or do you just save that for the Koch brothers?