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News Posted on March 1, 2011

Assoc. Dean Amar Comments on Justice Thomas for NPR

Associate Dean Vikram Amar commented on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for a report on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.  Justice Thomas has drawn attention in recent weeks after media reports noted that he has not spoken during the Court's oral arguments in more than five years, a silence unmatched in recent history.  (No other justice in the past 40 years has completed a single term without speaking.)

Amar said that Justice Thomas' silence does not mean he is disengaged and may simply indicate that he is not interested in attempting to build coalitions with other justices. "I think the fact that Justice Thomas seems to write so frequently for himself alone, and the fact that he lays out positions that are far apart from those of the other justices, does indicate that at least at this point he's not trying to tip the balance on the court and build groups of two, three, four, or five, to resolve cases," said Amar.  "I do, however, think that for the public it's sometimes good for each of the justices to show the world that they are engaged, and that they really have the kind of keen, active legal mind that we look for in justices."

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law with the UC Davis School of Law, is a national authority in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and remedies. His biweekly column for, a leading provider of online legal information, centers on his expertise in constitutional law.

 All Things Considered