Clarence Thomas dismissed criticism that he was not vocal enough during the Supreme Court pleadings.
“If you look at the history of the Court, the Court was a very quiet Court,” he said in a new book.
Thomas, a pillar of the six-member conservative bloc, has been a member of the Supreme Court since 1991.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in a new book, fired critics who accused him of not asking enough questions during pleadings, arguing there was no need for him to be “hyperactive.”
In the book“Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” edited by Michael Pack and Mark Paoletta, the judge spent more than 30 hours with Pack between November 2017 and March 2018 in what became an expanded company of the documentary of 2020 with the same name.
During his conversation with Pack, Thomas explained why he doesn’t feel the need to be overly vocal when hearing business.
“That stuff is ridiculous,” he said of the criticism. “If you look at the history of the Court, the Court was a very quiet Court.”
He continued, “Justice (William) Brennan rarely asked questions. Justice (Lewis) Powell rarely asked questions,” referring to William Brennan, who served from 1956 to 1990, and Lewis Powell who served from 1971 to 1987.
“This is all new. When I got to the court, people really listened: Justice (Byron) White, Chief Justice (William) Rehnquist, Justice (Harry) Blackmun. Justice (Thurgood) Marshall wasn’t in court with me. But I generally heard they were pretty quiet.”
Thomas, who has been a member of the Supreme Court since 1991, is a mainstay of the six-member conservative bloc. He said in the book that the emphasis on expressing opinions is not necessary in the Supreme Court setting.
“We’ve become very hyperactive now. I don’t think it’s necessary, and I don’t think it suits the court, and it doesn’t advance the process,” he said.
He added: “I think a lawyer should be allowed to argue. We are judges, not lawyers. We have to act accordingly. Yes, we can have opinions, but it is not my job to argue with lawyers; it is their job to handle their cases and there is a lawyer on each side.”
He continued: “The referee in the game should not be a participant in the game. There may be things you want to work out, but we cannot cross the line between advocacy and adjudication.”
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