December 16, 2007

Clarence Thomas: "I do not intend to answer articles I didn't read and most of which I consider extremely irrelevant."

What does he think about the New York Times calling him "the angriest justice"? He's not answering. Because it makes him angry? No, because it's irrelevant. Extremely irrelevant.
"I can't afford to be angry," he added several minutes later. "When you're struggling, you can't afford to carry that millstone of anger with you. You gotta let it go. I say that to younger kids who have issues with their parents: let it go."
He was also asked about his famous silence on the bench:
[H]e said that historically members of the court did not engage in "this sort of chattering," especially since much of a case has already been hashed out at the appellate level. "The real question should be, 'Why the sudden change?'" he said....
I wish he'd answer the "real question," then. Perhaps a complete transcript would show he did. Presumably — as the word "chattering" indicates — the answer would show disrespect to his colleagues.

IN THE COMMENTS: ricpic offers a poem:
If Breyer would stop his interminable chattering
And Ginsburg her incessant nattering
(Their excessive verbosity does so dismay)
I could think of something shattering
To say.

14 comments:

rhhardin said...

Presumably the chattering is because the court is enjoying its place.

Making a lawyer squirm is a ritual display of that place, a display that perhaps Thomas doesn't want to participate in.

It's chatter because you can do what has to be done without it.

George said...

Now compare him to, say, Oprah....

Her Jan '08 issue....

Cover line (a.k.a. 'sell line') reads:

Oprah's
South Africa
Heartache
How she's moving forward

Excuse me...how she is moving forward...what about the children? Was she the one who was hurt?

This ghastly beast is using the "suspicion of [child] sexual abuse" to sell magazines, i.e. to make money.

Her back page editorial is a hysterical wallowing egofeast...

"This was not part of the dream I had for the school...I pac[ed] from room to room in heaving sobs. It felt like my heart was splitting. There was a crew of 34 people waiting downstairs for a daylong O magazine cover shoot to begin. I could not do the photo shoot. I had to cancel.....Every hour that I haven't been on the air, I've either been on the phone with the girls or working to build a new team of people to support the dream."

Sure, "every hour..."

I think the "dream" is a euphemism for becoming richer.

Now, tell me, which of the two is more normal?

Ron said...

The reason you don't let the anger go is that the person you are angry at often counts on that very belief to allow them their evil in the world...

ricpic said...

If Breyer would stop his interminable chattering
And Ginsburg her incessant nattering
(Their excessive verbosity does so dismay)
I could think of something shattering
To say.

Skyler said...

There really is little point in the oral arguments. They can't possibly say in a few minutes what isn't already said in the written brief in much greater detail. Only a few things might be worth addressing in the case where a party hasn't effectively addressed a nuance, but that's not what seems to happen. Instead, it's mostly an ego show for the justices.

Gahrie said...

What bugs me most about oral arguements is when the Justices frame questions designed to produce statements that will advance the Justice's desired outcome.

Zeb Quinn said...

Ron: Yeah but continuing to carry it eats you up from the inside out like a cancer. Besides, letting go doesn't mean erasing it from your memory

rcocean said...

Shouldn't it be: Why does "so and so" at the New York Times think you're angry? Why should Thomas (or we) care what someone at the NYT thinks. What makes them so important?

I wish Thomas had been more honest. He should have said, "I'm not angry, & the people who say so don't know me and are simply trying to diminish me for political reasons. They also cannot admit they were wrong on Anita Hill or that I have a perfect right to remember and dislike how I was treated."

And when did asking questions become important? As stated, everyone position is supported by detailed written briefs. And I'd like to know, who, after Thomas, asks the 2nd fewest questions,and how many they ask.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm not angry, & the people who say so don't know me and are simply trying to diminish me for political reasons."

See the pitfall of denying anger? It sounds angry! The best he can do is to show absence of anger. That's his answer.

Mortimer Brezny said...

See the pitfall of denying anger? It sounds angry!

Yes, this is one of the circular logic techniques that white people use to keep black people in their place.

Obama '08!

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"See the pitfall of denying anger? It sounds angry! The best he can do is to show absence of anger."

I would think that this suggests a reason for why he should do more television interviews. We can't know what non-verbal stuff accompanied this statement; if he looked relaxed and happy and said this accompanied with that big booming laugh of his, then that shows an absence of anger. But in print, it sounds however the journalist wants to slant it and will be construed (reasonably enough) by the reader however seems most likely to them. So he should definitely do more TV interviews where people can see that he's not the stereotype built up by people hostile to him. Scalia has finally worked this out, to his credit, and by his own admission has given in to the idea of doing more interviews and being on TV.

Trooper York said...

Chuck: Here's my phone number.
[Dave reads it]
Dave Buznik: "You're gonna die, bitch"?
Chuck: Oh, sorry. That's a letter I'm writing to Geraldo Rivera.
(Anger Management, 2003)

rcocean said...

"So he should definitely do more TV interviews where people can see that he's not the stereotype built up by people hostile to him."

Agree as long as its very minimal and dignified. Scalia has gone too far and your link to Scalia-Franken post is an example. Why demean the office of SC Justice by talking to vulgar little clown like Franken.

I'm glad Thomas wrote his book, went out and sold it, giving his side of the story. But as a rule, I wish these SC Justices would just rule and STFU. I don't want to see them pontificating on TV. A

Simon said...

RCocean, I agree on the general point about setting, and I'm not saying Thomas should go on Olberman's show or something that really would drag the office into disrepute. As to Scalia, he didn't go on Al Franken's show, he was at an event, took questions, and Al Franken - who happened to be in the audience - asked a question. If the story's anything to go by, Scalia didn't even know who he is, although feigning not knowing who Al Franken is a natural reaction to being in Al Franken's presence, I would think.

I don't think any of them have gone too far. Breyer's appearence on Fox, for example, was interesting to watch and I thought well-handled by both interviewer and interviewee.