FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2010 file photo, Chief Justice John Roberts is seen during the group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. A historic Supreme Court term ended with a flourish of major rulings that marked a bitter defeat for racial minorities and a groundbreaking victory for gay rights, all in the space of a day. The justices struck down parts of two federal laws _ the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act _ that were passed with huge bipartisan majorities of Congress. Yet, only one justice at the center of this conservative-leaning court, Anthony Kennedy, was on the winning side both times. Kennedy joined the four more conservative justices on voting rights and he was with his liberal colleagues in the gay marriage case. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.