Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas poked Sen. Cory Booker over the New Jersey Democrat's much-mocked invocation of "Spartacus" during last week's confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh.
Booker was roundly ridiculed after threatening to defy the Senate rules and release what he thought were confidential documents concerning Kavanaugh’s past,
“This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” said Booker.
Thomas, who called his own contentious confirmation hearing back in 1991 a "high-tech lynching," took a jab at Booker during a conversation with the Federalist Society that aired Wednesday on C-SPAN.
“Honorable – if we could use that word about more people who are in public life, people who actually ask the questions at confirmation hearings, instead of 'Spartacus,'” Thomas said, prompting loud laughter in the audience.
“But as long as we're looking at our interests, or scoring points, or looking cute, or being on TV ... Especially the legal system, how do we maintain it? If you can't debate hard issues honestly, with honor, with integrity, how do we keep a civil society?”
The famously circumspect jurist went to lament that the overtly partisan confirmation hearings may pose a threat to civil society as lawmakers are more interested in scoring political points rather than questions the suitability of nominees.
“If we could use the word honorable more often, think about the difference it'll make,” he said. “Then, you'll have a legacy. We will have left the country in better shape, morally, structurally than we found it.”
“But as long as we're looking at our interests, or scoring points, or looking cute, or being on TV,” Thomas continued, “Especially the legal system, how do we maintain it? If you can't debate hard issues honestly, with honor, with integrity, how do we keep a civil society?”
After Booker's dramatic declaration, it was revealed that the potential 2020 presidential election contender, already had the approval to disclose the emails and the spectacle was merely theatrics.
“We cleared the documents last night shortly after Senator Booker’s staff asked us to,” William Burck, a lawyer working for former President George W. Bush told the New York Times.
“We were surprised to learn about Sen. Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly. In fact, we have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public,” he added.
“Apparently, someone just wanted to break the rules and make a scene, but didn’t check their email,” a spokesman for committee Republicans said in a statement. “All of this drama this morning apparently was for nothing and it’s unfortunate,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.