Clarence Thomas breaks 10-year silence on guns

Clarence Thomas ended a decade of silence from the bench during Supreme Court arguments when the conservative justice unexpectedly posed questions during a gun rights case from Maine.
Clarence Thomas breaks 10-year silence on guns

His comments, which stunned the courtroom, focused on Thomas’ concern that people convicted of domestic-violence misdemeanours could permanently lose the right to own a firearm.

Thomas has been a consistent vote on the court for robust gun rights under the US Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Thomas, 67, had not asked a question during oral arguments since February 22, 2006, when he made queries during a South Carolina death penalty case.

His words came two weeks after the death of fellow conservative Antonin Scalia, who had been one of the most outspoken justices during arguments, and a strong advocate for gun rights.

At issue was when a prior state misdemeanour domestic assault conviction based on “recklessness” may lead to a person being barred from ever owning a gun again under federal law.

He told a group of students in 2000 that his reluctance to speak during arguments arose from a shyness tracing back to his childhood.

Thomas has also said he thinks his colleagues interrupt the lawyers too much.

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