The Atlantic reports that people attending Supreme Court oral arguments on Monday were “gobsmacked” when Justice Clarence Thomas asked a government attorney a question from the bench. It’s been ten years since Thomas last asked a question in court. The article suggests that Thomas’s broken silence is “powerful evidence” that the court has changed since Justice Scalia’s death a few weeks ago, and notes that no current Justice has ever sat on the court without Scalia. A blog post from Sentencing Law and Policy indicates that the Justices did not grant review in any new cases this week and anticipates that the Supreme Court docket likely will be kept relatively light given that the court now faces the possibility of finding itself in a 4-4 tie in high profile cases.
As if things weren’t sufficiently unsettled on the high court already, the lights in the courtroom unexpectedly went out during Monday’s oral argument. The Justices reportedly continued asking questions in the dark. Let’s take a look at the other news of the week: