U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Thomas speaks for first time in nearly 7 years, but what did he say?


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Clarence Thomas.
Photo: The Oyez Project.

Updated: For the first time in nearly seven years, Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken from the U.S. Supreme Court bench.

But what did he say? The official transcript records four words, “Well—he did not—.” They may have been a reference to the law school from which an attorney being discussed had graduated, and the context suggests that Justice Thomas made a joke along those lines, perhaps concerning the value of a degree from Yale Law School, his own alma mater, the New York Times (reg. req.) reports.

USA Today also has a story.

As the Washington Post noted, Jon Stewart, in a segment on The Daily Show, subsequently wondered why Thomas didn’t use his four words to greater effect.

“If I was going to say only four words in seven years, you’ve got to make them count,” Stewart told his audience. “‘You’re out of order!’; ‘Luke, I am your father.’”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Justice Thomas Is Apparently Reconciling with Yale Law School”

Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.): “Justice Thomas Pays A Visit To Alma Mater He Belittled In Memoir”

Updated on Jan. 17 to include information about Jon Stewart comments.

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