For the first time in 10-years, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question during oral arguments on Monday, specifically on a gun rights case.
Thomas, who is famous for not speaking on the bench, asked the question after the court returned to session following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
For the first time in a decade, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke during oral arguments.
Just last week, CNN wrote about the ten-years since Thomas’s last question at oral arguments. That anniversary, February 22, came on the same day the Supreme Court first heard oral arguments after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who was Thomas’s ideological soul mate and who had defended his lack of questions over the years.
The comments from Thomas were directed at a government attorney, Ilana H. Eisenstein in a case called Voisine v. United States. The case concerns whether a prior domestic assault conviction based on reckless conduct qualifies as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence that would block the plaintiffs from possessing a firearm.
“Everyone leaned in disbelieving,” said Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick who was in the Court room. “The colloquy went back and forth several times with Thomas pressing the Assistant Solicitor General,” Lithwick said.
“This is a misdemeanor violation,” Thomas said at one point to Eisenstein. “It suspends a constitutional right—Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?” he asked.
Here’s a report on Thomas:
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