Justice Clarence Thomas stunned America earlier this week when he broke his 10-year streak of silence from the Supreme Court bench.
On Friday, the court released the audio of that moment, which came during oral argument in Voisine v. United States, a case dealing with a federal law that prohibits certain domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms.
“This is a misdemeanor violation. It suspends a constitutional right. Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?” Thomas asked, referring to the Second Amendment right to bear arms. It was one of about 10 questions the justice asked.
Only a couple of hundred people — plus a few media outlets, including The Huffington Post — were in the courtroom for what was expected to be a slow news day. Major media such as The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post missed out on it.
Thomas has offered a few rationales for his silence over the years, including that it’s rude to incessantly interrupt lawyers arguing before the Supreme Court and that asking so many questions is “unnecessary” because those lawyers do “most of their work” in the legal briefs they file ahead of oral arguments.
You can listen to the audio above.