It’s hardly the most substantive of observations, but I couldn’t help but notice that Clarence Thomas, one of the three sitting high-court justices on hand, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence with his public appearances.[T]here were signs that Thomas is not a regular on the speaking circuit. "You know, it’s really hard to talk up here when this guy in front of me keeps moving," Thomas announced early in his speech. He was referring to a television screen on the floor in front of him that was showing his own image — but because nobody but Thomas could see the TV, nobody knew what he was talking about.
"It’s me! I see myself moving around!" Thomas explained, then let out a resonant laugh: "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!" He continued: "This guy keeps moving around in front of me. Jeez! At any rate, stop looking at this guy in front of me! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You look at it and think, it’s too much of a good thing!"
A technician covered up the offending screen with a black cloth.
Thomas, who is well known for not saying a word during 16 years of oral arguments, probably should start bringing his reticence on the road with him.
The last comment, about Thomas "not saying a word during 16 years of oral arguments" is not completely true - he has spoken occasionally during oral arguments - but one has to wonder about his state of mind in situations like this.