AP NEWS

Clarence Thomas breaks three-year silence during oral argument

March 20, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke a three year silence on the bench when he asked a question Wednesday during oral arguments in a case dealing with race discrimination and juror selection.

The justices were hearing a case on whether a white Mississippi prosecutor excluded black jurors in several trials against Curtis Flowers, a black man convicted of murdering four people.

Flowers argues the state violated his constitutional right and his conviction should be overturned.

When Flowers’ lawyer finished her argument, Justice Thomas asked if Flower’s defense attorney had struck any jurors, to which the lawyer said yes.

Justice Thomas asked what race those jurors were and the attorney said they were white.

Flowers is currently on death row.

Justice Thomas had not posed a question during oral arguments since 2016, and prior to that he had gone more than a decade without interrupting an argument, according to The New York Times.