During oral arguments yesterday in U.S. v. Windsor – the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked the attorney for the law’s defenders whether denying federal marriage recognition to same-sex couples legally married under state law was “diminishing what the state has said is marriage.”
“You’re saying no, the state said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of . . . skim milk marriage,” Ginsburg said, drawing – for the first time this term – laughs from the audience, according to the Supreme Court’s official transcripts.
And with that, for the first time since DC Dicta began tallying the justices’ laughs-worthy comments, every single justice is on the board (most years it was the usually-silent Justice Clarence Thomas who always had the goose egg). This week, Justice Antonin G. Scalia was again the top laugh earner, adding five more to his sizable lead.
Here are the standings after 12 oral argument weeks:
Justice Antonin G. Scalia: 48
Justice Stephen G. Breyer: 38
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: 11
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: 9
Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor: 7
Justice Elena Kagan: 7
Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.: 3
Justice Clarence Thomas: 1
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1