Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hasn’t asked a question during oral arguments in five years. Why the silent treatment? To paraphrase Thomas, why beat up on the visiting lawyers when you already have your mind made up?

Thomas is not required to ask questions, but it does strike some of the people who keep track of these things as a bit weird. According to a professor of political science quoted by ABC News: “No single justice has gone even one full term without asking a question in the last 40 years.”

ABC News:

Thomas has said that he goes into the oral argument sessions knowing how he will decide a case, so he doesn’t ask questions.

“So why do you beat up on people if you already know … [the outcome of the case]? I don’t know because I don’t beat up on them. I refuse to participate. I don’t like it, so I don’t do it,” he said in 2009, according to The Associated Press.

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