This and That

For decades, U.S. Supreme Court Justices have interrupted each other when questioning the lawyers making an argument before the court. Justice Thomas was apparently not comfortable with that system and so he rarely asked questions.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the court could not meet in its building, so it began meeting remotely on Zoom. For the first time, anyone who could access the internet could tune into the proceedings. (The court building’s chamber in which the court meets, is relatively small so only small numbers of people could get into the court on any day when it was in session and proceedings were not broadcast.)

Chief Justice Roberts realized that the previouos system of organizing a hearing would not work on Zoom so he instituted a system in which he would call on the Justices to speak in the order of their seniority.

Suddenly, Justice Thomas, the most senior justice, began asking questions and has not stopped. Now that the Court is meeting back in its building, Justice Roberts has continued using the seniority system.

Separately, Justice Sotomayor makes the case that the change was also made to solve another problem within the Court. Reality, and various studies, showed that female justices were interrupted more often than male justices by other male justices and male advocates.

In the 30 days between August 17 and September 18, American households used an estimated 1,237,519 rolls of toilet paper, according to the consumer research firm MRI-Simmons.

The NRDC said that the average individual uses about 141 rolls a year or 2.7 rolls each week. Some people argue that this estimate is too large and so the balance of this report uses the number of 1 roll per week/52 rolls a year.

Using the 52 rolls a year standard, over the life of the product it uses:

  • 120 pounds of wood
  • 0.5 BTUs of Energy
  • 530 gallons or water
  • 3.7 pounds of solid waste
  • 309 pounds of greenhouse gases, around the amount emitted from a car burning 16 gallons of gasoline

The same amount of toilet paper made from 100% recycled material would use no virgin wood, 40% less electricity, 48% less water and generate 69% less greenhouse gases and 8% less solid waste. [WSJ 9/18-19/21]

Democrat leaders are of an age.

  • At 78, Joe Biden is the oldest President to sit in the Oval Office.
  • At 81, Nancy Pelosi is the oldest House Speaker.
  • At 82, Steny Hoyer is the House Majority Leader.
  • At 81, James Clyburn is the House Whip.
  • At 80, Bernie Sanders, is the Senate Budget Committee Chairman.
  • At 70, Chuck Schumer is the Senate Majority Leader.

Four decades ago, there were 33 major railroads. Today there are 7 major railroads. [WP 9/25/21]