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Just silence
Silence broken

Date published: 1/16/2013

FOR SEVEN YEARS, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has remained silent on the bench. No questions for the attorneys presenting cases. No cryptic comments. No press-worthy sound bites.

The justice has been criticized for his quiet demeanor. People wondered if shyness was to blame. Justice Thomas simply said he prefers to express himself in writing. And indeed, his strong dissents and arguments testify to his abilities in that arena.

On Monday, Justice Thomas spoke--for the first time since 2006. Just four words made it into the court transcript: " well, he did not." He was apparently questioning whether an Ivy League degree qualified a lawyer to represent someone.

Justice Thomas's silence is unusual in Washington. But here's food for thought: If more government officials did less talking and more listening, might not the country be better off?