The Commercial Appeal

TOO MANY QUESTIONS

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WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts says he and his colleagues have become too aggressive in questionin­g lawyers who argue before the Supreme Court.

Roberts says the justices “overdo it a bit” in posing questions to lawyers who are arguing their cases without giving the attorneys the chance to respond.

The chief justice says one reason is that the justices have not discussed the case among themselves before the argument. Roberts says they use the typically hour-long session to debate each other through the lawyers.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who hasn’t asked a question in seven years, has made the same criticism.

Roberts spoke Saturday at a conference of judges and lawyers in West Virginia.

Roberts suggested lawyers not even try to respond when the justices posed rapid-fire questions.

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