Justice Thomas Speaks at Oral Arguments for 1st Time in 7 Years

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013  |  Updated 10:39 AM EDT
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Lawyer Jab Ends Justice Thomas' 7-Year Courtroom Silence

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WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 29: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas poses with other justices during a group photograph at the Supreme Court building on September 29, 2009 in Washington, DC. The high court made a group photograph with its newest member Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Clarence Thomas

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Justice Clarence Thomas did something at a Supreme Court argument Monday that he hadn't done in nearly seven years. He spoke – and it appears it was either about his alma mater, Yale, or rival Harvard.

What Thomas said is not clear, other than he appears to have joked about Ivy League lawyers.

The argument transcript only records a few words. It quotes Thomas as saying, "Well, he did not..." Several justices laughed in response.

Louisiana lawyer Carla Sigler replied: "I would refute that, Justice Thomas."

Two lawyers in the courtroom said Thomas was joking about Ivy League law school graduates, although one said it was at the expense of Thomas' alma mater, Yale, and the other said rival Harvard was the butt of the joke.

Thomas hasn't asked a question in court since Feb. 22, 2006.
 

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