In nearly 16 years on the court, Thomas typically has asked questions a couple of times a term.As the old song lyric goes: When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
He memorably spoke up four years ago in cases involving cross burning and affirmative action, the court’s only black justice in the unusual role of putting his race on display through questions to lawyers.
But the last time Thomas asked a question in court was Feb. 22, 2006, in a death penalty case out of South Carolina. A unanimous court eventually broadened the ability of death-penalty defendants to blame someone else for the crime.
Thomas has said in the past that he will ask a pertinent question if his colleagues don’t but sees no need to engage in the back-and-forth just to hear his own voice.
May 18, 2007
"Justice Clarence Thomas sat through 68 hours of oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s current term without uttering a word."
Even for Thomas, that's impressive.