When Clarence Thomas speaks, I listen

News reports that Justice Clarence Thomas ended nearly seven years of silence during oral arguments Monday reminds me of the story of the 5-year-old girl who had yet to speak a word. Then, one morning, she says to her father, "Daddy, the oatmeal is cold." The delighted dad blurts, "Wow, that's amazing. Your first words -- and a complete sentence at that. But why, why did it take you so long to speak?" "Up until now, everything's been fine," the youngster responds. Like the father to his daughter, I, too, can recall the times I heard Thomas speak during oral arguments. And, as in the case of the daughter, on both occasions the justice's comments were memorable for their clarity and authenticity.

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