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Too much ado about Justice Thomas' silence

The title of this post is the title of a commentary in NLJ's Supreme Court Insider.  Unfortunately, it's behind the paywall.  The title is certainly correct.

David Savage in the LA Times notes the reason Justice Thomas rarely participates in the verbal banter.  In his view, cases are decided on the briefs, and oral argument is mostly for show.  Savage reports, "On occasion, the [other] justices say, the answers they hear persuade them to change their decision."  Perhaps, but I think that is very rare.

In any case, on a nine-member court very little, if anything, is lost by one member not peppering the lawyers with questions.  Eight is enough, and probably too many.

Linton Weeks has this interesting story at NPR on Quiet People, including, inter alia, Justice Thomas, George Harrison, and of course President Coolidge.
[Nicholas] Christenfield [of UC San Diego] specializes in researching human communication. He is exploring the idea of "volubility," the opposite of quietness. But in his studies, he has found two basic notions of why people remain quiet, "which my research has attempted to untangle," he says. "One is that their minds are less fertile, and fewer expressible thoughts occur to them."

The other idea, he says, "and the one most people intuitively embrace, is that their minds are at least as productive, but their threshold for saying things out loud is much higher. In this case, the average utterance of a Quiet Person should be of higher quality than that of a talkative one. They have had mediocre thoughts, but declined to share them."
I am inclined to the second view. 

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