Is Silence Really Golden?
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Politics and Activism

Is Silence Really Golden?

It's hard to know what you stand for when a federal law violates a constitutional right.

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Is Silence Really Golden?

America is founded on the idea of “freedom." In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who disagrees with such a statement. We’re the land of the free, home of the brave, and the place people come when they’re looking for new opportunities. These are the things which make us the great nation that we are. And so, when a situation arises that essentially shakes the foundations on which we as a country have been built on, it is time to decide what we really stand for.

By the time one reads this, the news of Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s passing, while still remaining just as devastating, will no longer come as a surprise. However, what may surprise you is the situation that occurred in the wake of his death. Justice Scalia, among many things, was known for his outspoken ways in the court room and his questions during oral arguments.

With Justice Scalia’s passing, many things have had to change, and fellow Supreme Court Justice Thomas’ breaking of his silence in the court room has shocked people as one of them. Justice Thomas has built his career as a Supreme Court Justice on the foundation of refraining from asking questions during oral arguments. This can be attributed to the fact that he believes oral arguments are a time for lawyers to present their case, and that he can determine where he stands on issues without having to throw question after question in the faces of the lawyers and advocates making their cases before him. Justice Thomas and the late Justice Scalia tended to agree on many issues inside and outside of the court room. And so, when Justice Thomas broke his silence in court during the oral arguments for the case Voisine v. US, while it shocked many, it is also not a far stretch to hear that he has become vocal now that his friend, and fellow Justice, cannot.

It should also come as no surprise that Justice Thomas has spoken out during this case when one learns of what the case was arguing. Voisine v. US was a case arguing whether or not those who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence should be able to own firearms. Justice Thomas broke his silence by uttering a question into the microphone for Justice Department lawyer, Ilana Eisenstein, asking if a misdemeanor conviction for any other law would result in the same removal of one’s constitutional rights. He asked her a few questions in regards to the Second Amendment, and also mentioned that currently, when someone is convicted of misdemeanor assault charges, they are given a lifetime ban in regards to owning weapons which, as of now, violates a constitutional right.

While I don’t think Justice Thomas is an advocate for domestic violence, and I myself do not approve of domestic violence and believe those who commit such acts should be prosecuted; I believe Justice Thomas is an advocate for the constitution. It is this reason which prompted him to break his silence. This case, Voisine v. US, shakes the very foundation on which the United States is built, and it is for this reason that I understand Justice Thomas’ reservations in regards to federal law which changes one’s constitutional rights. While there is no place in our country for violence or misdemeanors, if we are to start changing our country’s constitution (the document which inevitably makes us who we are as Americans), would our founding fathers even recognize the country we have created?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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