Home / Antonin Scalia / The Funniest Justice, week 13: Unquestionably funny

The Funniest Justice, week 13: Unquestionably funny

“I don’t want to repeat the question for the third time,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said during an exchange with attorney Carter G. Phillips during yesterday’s oral arguments in the case Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter.

“I wish you would,” said Justice Antonin G. Scalia to Breyer. “I’ve lost the question.”

As the audience laughed, Breyer retorted: “Well, here sometimes not everyone pays sufficient attention to these very clear questions.” More laughs.

The familiar Scalia & Breyer comedy act was in full effect at the court this week, but it was Breyer who was the week’s funniest justice, drawing five laughs during oral arguments in three cases. Scalia, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and Justice Elena Kagan each scored two laughs.

Here’s the tally with only one week of oral arguments remaining in the term:

Justice Antonin Scalia: 61

Justice Stephen Breyer: 46

Chief Justice John G. Roberts: 25

Justice Anthony Kennedy: 11

Justice Elena Kagan: 7

Justice Samuel Alito: 5

Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 2

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1

Justice Clarence Thomas: 0


  1. I always enjoy DC Dicta. Question: I noted the glowing omission that Justice Thomas has not said a word at oral argument since 2004(?). Does this omission mean that he has a voice, that he posed a question, or made an intelligent comment? If so, I would have expected more from you: perhaps a special edition, or a commemorative issue.

  2. DC Dicta has written plenty about Justice Thomas (see lawyersusaonline.com/dcdicta/category/clarence-thomas/) – including the fact that Thomas has been silent on the bench for 6 years (his last comment was made in 2006, for 2004). I used to point this out on every \Funniest Justice\ post, but it just got mundane after while so I stopped.

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