Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 21, 2007
LAW: Listening Tour

WSJ Blog notes yet another story about how Justice Thomas doesn't ask questions at oral argument.

The logical answer to this would seem to be that Justice Scalia is an extremely aggressive questioner, and Chief Justice Roberts has now joined him in that regard - and on a nine-judge Court, there is a diminishing return in having multiple voices from the Right asking the same questions. But as I noted last fall, Thomas' own explanation is rather different, and in fact seems to be almost the opposite conclusion:

Thomas said that as a young state attorney general arguing before the Supreme Court of Missouri, he recalled justices who "actually allowed me to make my argument. They listened to what I had to say. ... Nor did I ever feel I had not been heard or did not have my day in court." . . . "It seems fashionable now for judges to be more aggressive in oral arguments," he said. "I find it unnecessary and distracting. ... I truly think oral arguments would be more useful if the justices would listen rather than debating the lawyers. ... I think the judges need to listen if the arguments are to be effective."
Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:37 PM | Law 2006-08 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I'm not a fan of Justice Thomas. But I think his reasons for not asking more questions are valid, and I think that people who knock him for it jump to some conclusions that don't reflect well upon them.

Posted by: Jerry at May 21, 2007 11:06 PM

A member of the legal profession who listens? Have we moved into a different universe?

I applaud Justice Thomas!

Posted by: Lee at May 22, 2007 7:29 AM
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