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Justice Thomas Speaks On Bench For First Time In 7 Years

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas participates in the courts official photo session on Oct. 8, 2010 at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas participates in the courts official photo session on Oct. 8, 2010 at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — He speaks.

After not saying a word on the bench for nearly seven years, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally spoke during a case.

According to CBS News, Thomas interrupted Justice Antonin Scalia to make a joke about Ivy League lawyers.

The argument transcript only records a few words. It quotes Thomas as saying, “Well, he did not…” Several justices laughed in response.

Louisiana lawyer Carla Sigler replied: “I would refute that, Justice Thomas.”

Two lawyers in the courtroom said Thomas was joking about Ivy League law school graduates, although one said it was at the expense of Thomas’ alma mater, Yale, and the other said rival Harvard was the butt of the joke.

Thomas told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” in 2007 that not asking questions is just his “personal preference.”

“Justice Marshall rarely asked questions. Justice Powell rarely asked questions. That’s a personal preference. I certainly wouldn’t do it to provide histrionics for the media gallery or for other people or for critics,” Thomas told CBS News. “Critics will always be critics.”

Thomas hasn’t asked a question in court since February 22, 2006.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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