Justice Clarence Thomas breaks three years of silence to challenge racial discrimination case

Justice Clarence Thomas breaks three years of silence to challenge racial discrimination case
Sonny Perdue is sworn in as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with his wife Mary and family April 25, 2017, at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.. Photo by Preston Keres

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has broken a three-year silent streak on the Supreme Court.


Thomas made his first remarks on this court since 2016 while hearing a case which alleges the state of Mississippi attempted to exclude black jurors from a black man’s murder trial, according to The New York Times.

As [Curtis Flower’s] lawyer concluded her argument, Justice Clarence Thomas asked his first questions from the bench since 2016. He wanted to know whether the defense lawyer in the sixth trial had struck any jurors.

The lawyer said yes, and Justice Thomas asked what race those jurors were. White, she said.

The Times noted that until Thomas’ spoke up, the other justices “seemed united in their view that a white Mississippi prosecutor had violated the Constitution in his determined efforts to exclude black jurors.”

Three years is not Thomas’s longest streak without speaking on the court. Prior to asking a question in 2016, Thomas set the record for silence on the court by not talking for a decade.

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