Apparently, it was some kind of joke about what a Yale law degree connotes. We know how he feels about his law degree. Here's what I wrote back in 2007 when he gave an interview to "60 Minutes":
"I was never a liberal. I was radical," he says, talking about how difficult it was for him to go to work for a Republican after he graduated from Yale Law School. His Yale Law degree was worth almost nothing, he says. Though he graduated in the middle of his class, he couldn't get a job, and he was enraged to see that the degree meant one thing for whites and another for blacks. Everyone assumed he got into Yale because he was black, and not because he had grown up in severe hardship, and yet had always done well in every environment -- from all black to all white.ADDED: According to the NYT, Thomas leaned over to the microphone and uttered a remark that the stenographer captured as "Well – he did not —." Laughter is noted. The topic at the time was the definition of constitutionally adequate counsel, and Justice Scalia had just noted that one lawyer had gone to Yale Law School and another to Harvard. Supposedly, according to some people who were in the courtroom, Thomas said something that meant that a law degree from Yale could be proof of incompetence.
[Thomas has] complained about the difficulty of getting a word in edgewise on an exceptionally voluble bench. The garbled transcript offers some support for that final rationale.Indeed. On the other hand, the intense interest we're all showing now might encourage him. Say anything at all and it will be big news.