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"Free Republic"?


On a "Free Republic" forum, which bills itself as "the premier online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web. We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America. And we always have fun doing it. Hoo-yah!" I ran across a discussion about Justice Thomas who many of my friends and acquaintances consider to be the devil incarnate.  But there was not one critical post of Justice Thomas while there were many complimentary posts commending him for not even saying a single word for two years.  So I wondered if this is because this is how people who post to "Free Republic" actually think, or if it was because of censorship.  So on Monday, February 25, 2008, around 4 pm the following statistical facts were posted at the following url:

Koko the gorilla had an iq of 85. The average of American blacks is about 85. Sub-Saharan blacks score lower than 65, and more than two dozen African nations have average iq’s lower than 70.

Could this be the reason for Justice Thomas’ silence?

Just asking.

What would you expect his iq to be if we were to test it?

And this was the reply from "Free Republic" on Tuesday, February 26, 2008::

Your posting privilege has been revoked.



So I went back and reviewed their terms of service, and here's the significant part, the part which claims they do NOT engage in censorship:


Suitability of Posts: Free Republic does not edit or censor user posts but does reserve the right to remove what it deems to be (in its own judgment) inappropriate posts or materials.


What part of "CENSOR' do they not understand.  This was my first and only [and of course LAST] post on Free Republic.  It was simply a statement of facts coupled with TWO simple, but IMPORTANT, questions about the viability of our entire justice system.  This is PRECISELY the type of political free speech MY Founding Fathers spilt blood for ME to protect, so why would a forum billing itself as something reminiscent of our Founding Fathers' writings, "free" and "republic" be so threatened by such a simple question?


Why don't they just get it over with and call themselves "free-speech-but-only-for-democrats", rather than two words which they neither agree with nor embrace.





Posted on 02/25/2008 2:27:59 PM PST by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON - Two years and 144 cases have passed since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last spoke up at oral arguments. It is a period of unbroken silence that contrasts with the rest of the court's unceasing inquiries.

Hardly a case goes by, including two appeals that were argued Monday, without eight justices peppering lawyers with questions. Oral arguments offer justices the chance to resolve nagging doubts about a case, probe its weaknesses or make a point to their colleagues.

Left, right and center, the justices ask and they ask and they ask. Sometimes they debate each other, leaving the lawyer at the podium helpless to jump in. "I think you're handling these questions very well," Chief Justice John Roberts quipped to a lawyer recently in the midst of one such exchange.

Leaning back in his leather chair, often looking up at the ceiling, Thomas takes it all in, but he never joins in.

Monday was no different. Thomas said nothing.

He occasionally leans to his right to share a comment or a laugh with Justice Stephen Breyer. Less often, he talks to Justice Anthony Kennedy, to his immediate left.

Thomas, characteristically, declined to comment for this article. But in the course of his publicity tour for his autobiography, "My Grandfather's Son," the 59-year-old justice discussed his reticence on the bench on several occasions.

The questions may be helpful to the others, Thomas said, but not to him.

"One thing I've demonstrated often in 16 years is you can do this job without asking a single question," he told an adoring crowd at the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

The book tour showed that the topic comes up even among friendly audiences.

Indeed, Thomas' comment was provoked by this question: Why do your colleagues ask so many questions?

His response: "I did not plant that question. That's a fine question. When you figure out the answer, you let me know," he said.

The typical hourlong argument session can sometimes be difficult, even for a practiced questioner.

"I really would like to hear what those reasons are without interruption from all of my colleagues," Justice John Paul Stevens said at an argument in the fall.

The newest justice, Samuel Alito, has said he initially found it hard to get a question in sometimes amid all the former law professors on the court.

The last time Thomas asked a question in court was Feb. 22, 2006, in a death penalty case out of South Carolina. A unanimous court eventually broadened the ability of death-penalty defendants to blame someone else for the crime.

In the past, the Georgia-born Thomas has chalked up his silence to his struggle as a teenager to master standard English after having grown up speaking Geechee, a kind of dialect that thrived among former slaves on the islands off the South Carolina, Georgia and Florida coasts.

He also has said he will ask a pertinent question if his colleagues don't but sees no need to engage in the back-and-forth just to hear his own voice.

Lately, he has focused on the latter reason.

"If I think a question will help me decide a case, then I'll ask that question," he told C-SPAN's Brian Lamb in October. "Otherwise, it's not worth asking because it detracts from my job."

He talked in that same interview about descriptions of him as the silent justice.

"I can't really say that it's unfair to say that I'm silent in that context. I would like to, though, be referred to as the 'listening justice,' you know," Thomas said. "I still believe that, if somebody else is talking, somebody should be listening."

The following month, however, at an event sponsored by Hillsdale College in Michigan, Thomas was more combative when asked about oral arguments.

Suppose surgeons started discussing the merits of removing a gallbladder while in the operating room, Thomas said, as quoted by U.S. News & World Report. "You really didn't go in there to have a debate about gallbladder surgery," he said. Similarly, "we are there to decide cases, not to engage in seminar discussions."

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TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; Politics/Elections; War on Terror; Click to Add Topic
KEYWORDS: clarencethomas; justice; justicethomas; questions; scotus; supremecourt; Click to Add Keyword

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1 posted on 02/25/2008 2:28:00 PM PST by NormsRevenge

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To: NormsRevenge

Promote this man to Chief Justice!

2 posted on 02/25/2008 2:29:58 PM PST by Revolting cat!

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To: NormsRevenge

As long as the information is all being presented I see no reason for him to ask questions.

3 posted on 02/25/2008 2:31:22 PM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light..... Isaiah 5:20)

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To: NormsRevenge

I agree with Thomas. I have heard the audio of a few cases and sometimes wish that the blowhards would just shut up and listen.

Geechee...there is a word I haven’t heard in a while.

4 posted on 02/25/2008 2:31:35 PM PST by Retired Greyhound

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To: NormsRevenge
I guess the AP is more impressed with incoherent questions from Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She must truly be an embarrassment to the others on the Court.


5 posted on 02/25/2008 2:32:25 PM PST by ml/nj

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To: NormsRevenge
Experienced appellate attorneys know that oral argument is almost always a formality. With 9 Supreme Court Justices and their cadres of clerks, plus the parties and their briefs, and all the amicus briefs, the chances that you are going to think of something new in oral argument is miniscule.

In a tiny fraction of cases something interesting may be conceded or a point made clearer, but generally Thomas is exactly right; they are there to decide, not teaching a law 101 seminar for the reporters.

6 posted on 02/25/2008 2:33:17 PM PST by Williams

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To: NormsRevenge

An educated man that doesn’t love to hear himself talk is a rare thing.

7 posted on 02/25/2008 2:36:04 PM PST by SampleMan (We are a free and industrious people, socialist nannies do not become us.)

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To: NormsRevenge

Yawn. In the history of the Court, some justices have been rather talkative while others have been almost silent during oral argument. It doesn’t tell us much about the justice at all.

8 posted on 02/25/2008 2:38:27 PM PST by NinoFan

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To: SampleMan

I am going to add another item to my list of things I want to do in my lifetime....Meeting Justice Thomas is it!

9 posted on 02/25/2008 2:39:26 PM PST by goodnesswins (Being Challenged Builds Character; Being Coddled Destroys Character)

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To: SampleMan
An educated man that doesn’t love to hear himself talk is a rare thing.

I was saying the same thing to my family and friends just yesterday. ;)

10 posted on 02/25/2008 2:41:57 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim

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To: NormsRevenge
Questions are mainly used to influence movement on a position by other Judges. Thomas already knows who is going to vote with him, and the rest are not touchable by him. Knowing this, he remains silent. Thomas and Scalia are the most conservative members. Scalia loves to mix it up even though he knows he will not convert anyone. Thomas does not bother.

If Obama or Clinton nominates 3-6 new Judges to the Court, which is very possible, the conservative movement will be severely damaged for 25 to 30 years. Several Democratic Justices will retire quickly upon election of a Democrat. If McCain is elected, they will try to wait him out, hoping he is a one-termer. McCain would probably get 1-2 nominations in one term. The Court can be expected to remain basically status quo under McCain.

11 posted on 02/25/2008 2:44:43 PM PST by SaxxonWoods (If you don't vote, you don't matter.)

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To: NormsRevenge
Everyone should read Justice Thomas' memoir, My Grandfather's Son. It is a wonderful story of someone growing up under hard conditions, attaining high moral values and an appreciation for the nation's political history, particularly as it relates to the importance of limited government.

Of course, prepare to be outraged upon being reminded of the high-tech lynching administered to Justice Thomas by the elite liberal corrupt hypocrites in the U.S. Senate and their various support groups. However, the outrage is quickly replaced by satisfaction in the result and admiration for Justice Thomas himself, who refused to back down from the attack and showed the likes of Kennedy and Biden they had picked the wrong victim. He did not bother to try to hide his disdain for the cowardly bullies of the Judiciary Committee.

I am proud to have hanging on my wall a letter I received from Justice Thomas in reply to one I sent him. He not only took the time to thank me, but he included a lengthy hand written note addressing specific points I had made about the importance grandparents can play in a person's life. He wrote, "I deeply appreciate your kind and thoughtful letter...", and he went on to state his thoughts on the matters relating to grandparenting which I had brought up.

I do not know if Clarence Thomas will ever be accorded the respect he has earned as the pre-eminent role model for young Americans of every race, but I do know that the constant attacks and innuendo as represented by this article will never cease. He is too much proof of the fallacy of everything liberals stand for for them to ever leave him alone, but he is too much of a man to ever be cowed by them.

12 posted on 02/25/2008 3:00:17 PM PST by San Jacinto

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To: NormsRevenge

Most of the time when I see questions printed from the other Supremes (read: the Left-wing ones) they are not questions but statements disguised as questions.

13 posted on 02/25/2008 3:01:19 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Benedict Arnold was against the Terrorist Surveillance Program)

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To: goodnesswins
I am going to add another item to my list of things I want to do in my lifetime....Meeting Justice Thomas is it!

That would indeed be an honor, but at least write him. I think he appreciates knowing we are out here (see my previous post).

14 posted on 02/25/2008 3:03:18 PM PST by San Jacinto

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To: NormsRevenge

He’s the “Quiet Man” of the Supreme Court.

15 posted on 02/25/2008 3:07:06 PM PST by nygoose

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To: NormsRevenge

The little bit I have seen about the “questions” asked by the other SCOTUS justices suggests to me that there is mostly a lot of posing and posturing, with some playing to the larger public via pompous leftist “reporters” such as Linda Greenhouse. [Scalia is the exception since virtually anything he has to say is always worth hearing and thinking about!]

16 posted on 02/25/2008 3:07:19 PM PST by Enchante (Democrats: we'll send Pelosi and Brezinski to Damascus, that's our foreign policy!!)

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To: San Jacinto

Thanks, I will.

17 posted on 02/25/2008 3:23:17 PM PST by goodnesswins (Being Challenged Builds Character; Being Coddled Destroys Character)

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To: NormsRevenge
My Uncle was a big time steel erection construction man (cover of the industry magazine 5 times); he was on his church building committee and was asked why he never said anything even though he was the most qualified on the committee to speak - he said, “If you ever say anything I disagree with or which is not correct, I will let you know”.
18 posted on 02/25/2008 3:36:01 PM PST by SF Republican (Conservatives wanted all or nothing, and they got it.)

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To: NormsRevenge

16 years??? I must be getting old. It seems like only the other day that Coke cans and literary references were in the news.

19 posted on 02/25/2008 3:43:06 PM PST by geopyg (Don't wish for peace, pray for Victory.)

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To: NormsRevenge

I absolutely adore this man. I caught his book party on C-SPAN at another Justice’s home, and the sheer humanity and dignity of the man greatly impressed me. God bless Clarence Thomas and may he live a long and happy life.

20 posted on 02/25/2008 3:45:29 PM PST by montag813

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To: The Ghost of FReepers Past
Hard to imagine with all the different attorneys and styles there would be no questions or need for clarification. Have any of you ever been in court?

It's a good thing the court has 9 people so the other 8 can get the job done for him.

21 posted on 02/25/2008 3:49:51 PM PST by purpleraine

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To: NormsRevenge

It’s good to know that someone on the Court is listening to the sound of someone else’s voice besides his own, and thinking about something other than what he wants to say next.

22 posted on 02/25/2008 3:49:52 PM PST by LucyJo

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To: NormsRevenge

I am on the last chapter in his book. It’s a good book but as I read the chapter on his USSC confirmation hearing it really makes my blood boil.

23 posted on 02/25/2008 3:49:58 PM PST by fkabuckeyesrule (I wish there was a baseball game on.)

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To: fkabuckeyesrule
" I read the chapter on his USSC confirmation hearing it really makes my blood boil."

That's nothing. You should have watched as it happened!

24 posted on 02/25/2008 3:53:48 PM PST by LucyJo

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To: purpleraine

If the questions are being asked, who cares who asks them?

25 posted on 02/25/2008 3:54:08 PM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light..... Isaiah 5:20)

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To: The Ghost of FReepers Past
As I said, it's a good thing there's other judges there to get the job done.

I like the guy. I've heard him speak on several occasions. I defended him during the confirmation, but this trait is neither cute or an indication of any outstanding characteristic I can think of; not in that context.

26 posted on 02/25/2008 3:56:31 PM PST by purpleraine

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To: ml/nj
I guess the AP is more impressed with incoherent questions from Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

"Did you sell the last chocolate Babka."

27 posted on 02/25/2008 3:59:45 PM PST by Stentor

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To: NormsRevenge
28 posted on 02/25/2008 4:00:58 PM PST by NutCrackerBoy

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To: purpleraine

Should he ask questions just to ask questions? I mean, if he is listening intently isn’t that what we really need? I’ve heard many of these questions asked by judges that sound more like speeches than true inquiry.

29 posted on 02/25/2008 4:02:25 PM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light..... Isaiah 5:20)

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To: SampleMan
An educated man that doesn’t love to hear himself talk is a rare thing.

I'm certainly not one of them, and I do have Master's degree. That will soon make me the least educated member of my immediate family. Wife has PhD, #1 daughter has JD, #2 daughter has MA and is a PhD student. But just ask any of them. I still talk the most. I think it's a gene the girls didn't inherit, since my mother and her sisters are the same way (well her oldest sister. Dieing is the only thing to stop us, and she stopped about a year ago. ;) )

30 posted on 02/25/2008 4:28:37 PM PST by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)

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To: Revolting cat!

I’ve been most impressed with Justice Thomas the few times I saw him promoting his book. While always deep, I cannot recall a time I have heard his voice sound so deep. He could have made millions invoice overs.

I saw him make the argument about cases having been argued into the ground by the time the SCOTUS sees them. At the same time, to go two years with out asking one questions leads me to believe he is furthering his reputation, or has handcuffed himself from being intellectually curious.

Thomas’ upbringing was so counter to many Blacks of that age, and not only are Thomas’s views unique, they are virtually nonexistent in any other black that I have heard speak. (including Cosby) The man is an island in so many ways.

31 posted on 02/25/2008 4:36:50 PM PST by Direct

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To: The Ghost of FReepers Past
It is my understanding that questions are asked to see how counsel would rebute challenges to their positions and to clarify.

Unless he is a mindreader it is unfathomable that he didn't have any question for any purpose whatsoever.

32 posted on 02/25/2008 6:23:30 PM PST by purpleraine

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To: purpleraine

The questions asked are not for clarification. They are asked to advance the position of the judge. Justice Thomas style is to not ask them, and criticism of him on this point is a canard.

You do him great disservice by suggesting he needs help from the others to “do his job.”

33 posted on 02/25/2008 7:10:43 PM PST by San Jacinto

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To: San Jacinto

Nice defense, but..........Questions are asked for several reasons. If he doesn’t need to “adsvance his position,” it is inconceivable that he understands everything precisely and never needs to clarify anything (in what form of human communication is clarification never needed?).

34 posted on 02/25/2008 7:15:19 PM PST by purpleraine

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To: purpleraine
Before Justice Thomas sits to hear oral argument, he has read extensive briefs from both sides as well as from all the amicus who have filed briefs in the case. He has had his law clerks prepare memoranda on the legal points and case precedents. Anyone needing “clarification” at that point would be either dense or lazy. The purpose for the questioning is to probe the weak points of the advocates and to highlight the strengths which the justice wants to see emphasized.

Prior to serving on the Court,Justice Thomas was appointed by Reagan to head the EEOC and made great progress in repairing an agency which had become a bureaucratic mess. He is quite scholarly and is perfectly capable of understanding the issues of the case and putting them in proper context.

The people who now question his competence or his work ethic are of the same ilk as the scumbags who tried to wreck the nomination in the first place. These same people lionize Thurgood Marshall as an intellectual giant, which is far from the truth, and their attacks on Justice Thomas are designed to titillate and give secret pleasure to like minded liberal bigots, of which there is no shortage. Those familiar with Justice Thomas’ background and past accomplishments know the truth of the matter.

35 posted on 02/25/2008 7:49:30 PM PST by San Jacinto

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To: nygoose

He’s not quiet, everyone else is too loud.

36 posted on 02/25/2008 7:50:52 PM PST by dfwgator (11+7+15=3 Heismans)

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To: San Jacinto
Thanx for that historical perspective. Thomas was an affirmative action appointed because there were no black justices when the opening occurred.

I am aware of the process for filing appeals. I have sat in US circuit courts three times and several times in state courts.

It is inconceivable given human communication that someone can put all of their ideas in writing and have a reader that would have no need to have follow-up questions about context, intent, law or clarification. It's a good thing the other judges do not engage in the questionable practice.

37 posted on 02/25/2008 9:11:46 PM PST by purpleraine

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.




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