For a while there, Justice Clarence Thomas was in the lead in our Least Favorite Supreme Court Justice poll. But then Instapundit linked to the poll, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg zoomed ahead. We’ll leave that poll open for a while, since we’re still getting incoming links and votes for it.
As for Justice Thomas, currently running third in the poll, he recently did something that he does about twice a Term at the Supreme Court: he spoke.
Earlier this week, down in Atlanta, Justice Thomas delivered a speech and took questions at a continuing legal education seminar on appellate practice. Accounts of his rather interesting remarks are available here and here. He touched on many topics, including amicus briefs, judicial independence, and cameras in the courtroom.
Now, we like CT — we really do. We admire him as a jurist, and we also hear that he’s a very affable man. But the excerpt below struck us as poor word choice for someone whose SCOTUS nomination was almost derailed by sexual harassment charges.
Here’s Justice Thomas, explaining why judges should be less aggressive when questioning lawyers at oral argument:
“It seems fashionable now for judges to be more aggressive in oral arguments. I find it unnecessary and distracting… My job is not to rape your argument, not to make your argument, not to hurt your feelings.”
“Nor is my job to ask whether your argument placed a pubic hair in my Coke.”
Update: We weren’t there, obviously, and we don’t have a recording of the proceedings. But according to this reader comment, Justice Thomas said “raid,” not “rape” — which would make more sense. (Serves us right for relying upon the MSM.)
Justice Thomas Opens Up on ‘Aggressive’ Appellate Judges [Fulton County Daily Report]
Justice Thomas Speaks! [WSJ Law Blog]