I just read an online CNN article about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and how it’s likely that the USSC might gut it like a fish. In the article, the reporter wrote that Clarence Thomas will most likely side with the conservative justices who believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. No surprise there. Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Stephen Breyer, are the justices who tend to vote on the liberal side while Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts are the conservative justices who believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Anthony Kennedy usually carries the all important tie breaker swing vote.
In the article, the reporter wrote: “Three of the more conservative justices seemed aligned with the view that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and it's likely they'd be joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, who doesn't speak at arguments.” I paused and re-read that sentence. “He doesn’t speak at arguments?” I asked myself. It was written as a statement of accepted fact. Is he not allowed to speak at arguments? Is he mute? What the hell is that about? How can you sit as a justice on the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, and not speak? While the other justices are harassing and hazing the skilled attorneys who will now be able to boast that they’ve argued before the USSC, Clarence Thomas is watching the performance like a spectator. I remember reading that Clarence Thomas seldom (almost never) wrote majority opinions or even dissenting opinions, but I didn’t realize that his tongue was also paralyzed.
This blog isn’t a slam on Clarence Thomas, even though I’m currently reading Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home written by Anita Hill. Admittedly, it’s not the most riveting read, but I bought it because I liked the title, and as a fellow author I thought I’d experience some good juju if I ordered her book on Amazon and helped her earn some royalties. So far it isn’t working. The book puts me to sleep and my own royalties haven’t increased. So much for my good juju theory.