Thomas still hasn't said anything
WASHINGTON - Two years and 144 cases have passed sincelast spoke up at oral arguments. It is a period of unbroken silence that contrasts with the rest of the court's unceasing inquiries.
Hardly a case goes by, including two appeals that were argued Monday, without eight justices peppering lawyers with questions. Oral arguments offer justices the chance to resolve nagging doubts about a case, probe its weaknesses or make a point to their colleagues.
Left, right and center, the justices ask and they ask and they ask. Sometimes they debate each other, leaving the lawyer at the podium helpless to jump in. "I think you're handling these questions very well,"quipped to a lawyer recently in the midst of one such exchange.
Leaning back in his leather chair, often looking up at the ceiling, Thomas takes it all in, but he never joins in.