Clarence Thomas the Questioner

111 Northwestern University Law Review 1185 (2017)

111 Northwestern University Law Review Online 197 (2017)

BYU Law Research Paper No. 17-06

33 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016 Last revised: 10 Feb 2021

See all articles by RonNell Andersen Jones

RonNell Andersen Jones

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Aaron L. Nielson

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

Date Written: November 1, 2016

Abstract

One of Justice Clarence Thomas’s most remarked upon characteristics is his reluctance to ask questions during oral argument. Many have criticized him for his silence. Others defend his silence, noting, for instance, that historically oral argument played a much less significant role and that the Justice’s written opinions speak for themselves. What has been overlooked in this debate, however, is the fact that Justice Thomas is talented at asking questions. Indeed, in many ways, he is a model questioner. Drawing on the most comprehensive collection of Thomas’s oral argument questions ever compiled, we urge the Justice to ask more questions for a new reason: he is good at it.

This article was published in the Northwestern University Law Review and in the Northwestern University Law Review Online. The online version is available on SSRN because it includes the authors' appendix cataloguing Justice Thomas's questions and comments during oral arguments. The print version is available at https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/nulr/vol111/iss4/8/.

Keywords: United States Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, oral argument, judicial behavior

Suggested Citation

Andersen Jones, RonNell and Nielson, Aaron, Clarence Thomas the Questioner (November 1, 2016). 111 Northwestern University Law Review 1185 (2017), 111 Northwestern University Law Review Online 197 (2017), BYU Law Research Paper No. 17-06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862240

RonNell Andersen Jones (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-587-8756 (Phone)

Aaron Nielson

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

430 JRCB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States

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