clarence thomas' dialect

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Feb 26 21:58:16 UTC 2008

I'm not sure that it's true that he has written fewer opinions than other
justices. Written opinions are assigned by the chief justice (if the chief
is concurring with the opinion, by the ranking associate if he is not). So
the number of opinions should be fairly well distributed.

If he does indeed have fewer written opinions, it's almost certainly due to
the fact that he and Scalia join in concurring/dissenting opinions and
Scalia is choosing to write them himself. (Often Scalia and Thomas join in
separate opinions that concur with the decision of the majority.)

The Cornell Law School web site lists 357 recent opinions for Thomas,
compared to 422 for Scalia and 483 for Stevens. Scalia and Stevens write a
lot of solo, concurring/dissenting opinions, so that's why they have more.
Ginsburg has only written 263.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Amy West
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:23 AM
Subject: Re: clarence thomas' dialect

Thank you, Wilson! My gut reaction was that it's a BS excuse but I
haven't got the linguistic chops to support that. Rather I would
suggest taking a look at how many opinions he's *written*: very, very
few. If it were a matter of hesitation in the spoken language, I
think we would see a difference between the amount of speech in oral
arguments and the written opinions, but we don't. The opinion of many
of my legal friends is that both the lack of questions and written
opinions are due to him riding on Scalia's coattails. The deeper
reason is he's just unqualified for the position.

---Amy West

>Date:    Mon, 25 Feb 2008 16:12:46 -0500
>From:    Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject: Re: clarence thomas' dialect
>That claim is unreal, and I ain't going for it. Thomas speaks
>standardly far better than, i.e., Jesse Jackson or Saint Louis's own
>Cedric the Entertainer, who have no trouble opening their mouths. And
>mastering standard is no huge undertaking

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