Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Silence of the Bench

Though I am not certain why this is news, the New York Times reports: "A week from Tuesday, when the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break and hears arguments in two criminal cases, it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument." Apparently, this "epic silence" by a sitting justice is one for the books, a feat unmatched in the past 40 years. Thomas has given various personal reasons for standing mute on the bench, but frankly it's his right to speak or not. The Times seems to believe, like the poet Susan Griffin, that "a story is told as much by silence as by speech." Perhaps. But when it comes to the very odd world of Justice Thomas, "silence is golden" as far as I am concerned.

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