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Shushing Sotomayor

Emotions – and tensions – ran high at the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in a case asking whether a federal tribal law allows a biological father to regain custody of a child who had been legally adopted by a couple under state law.

To say it was a hot bench is an understatement. The justices frequently talked over one another and repeatedly interrupted the lawyers at the podium in an attempt to get their questions answered.

Things got so intense that one of the most vocal justices, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was asked to be quiet by one of her colleagues – twice.

At one point when Sotomayor was rapidly firing questions at attorney Lisa Blatt, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. stopped her. “Could I hear her answer please?” Robert said to Sotomayor before allowing Blatt some time to talk.

Later, when Sotomayor interrupted attorney Paul Clement with her queries, Justice Antonin Scalia stopped her mid-sentence.

“Please finish,” Scalia then said to Clement. “Let’s finish.”

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