It was probably a joke only a lawyer could love, but Thomas drew a hearty laugh with an aside from the bench Monday about two federal laws the high court has confronted repeatedly.
Announcing the court's ruling in a complicated case about rules for certain kinds of appeals in death penalty cases, Thomas waded into a thicket of acronyms and obscure legal terms.
"I'm sure you got all that," he said at last, to laughter from the courtroom. "One of my colleagues thinks this case is about how AEDPA violates ERISA," Thomas continued, referring to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. That broke up the room.
"I'm not going to say which colleague, but he sits on my left."
Justice Stephen Breyer, on Thomas' left, grinned and giggled. The two justices, who have opposite ideologies, are frequently seen whispering and laughing during the court's oral arguments.
Monday, September 24, 2007
News Article on Thomas Speaking at Oral Argument
I don't know where this article originally appeared, but I had copied this bit on my other webpage: