Justice Clarence Thomas admits he was a Prince fan during humorous exchange

CNN reported that the Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday regarding a case regarding the principle of fair use in copyright law.

However, the network noted that things took an unusual turn when the justices paused for 15 minutes to discuss a portrait of the late pop star Prince. 

Justice Clarence Thomas admits to having been a Prince fan

According to CNN, the case revolves around whether the late artist Andy Warhol infringed on a photographer’s copyright when he used a photograph as the basis for a silkscreen printing.

A group of art law professors filed briefs supporting the Andy Warhol Foundation, arguing that Warhol’s art was protected material.

“Fair Use protects the First Amendment rights of both speakers and listeners by ensuring that those whose speech involves dialogue with preexisting copyrighted works are not prevented from sharing that speech with the world,” they wrote.

While a district judge originally ruled in Warhol’s favor, that decision was subsequently reversed by an appellate court.

Justice Clarence Thomas at one point commented, “Let’s say I’m a Prince fan, which I was in the 80s,” a revelation that apparently left some of his colleagues feeling surprised.

They included Justice Elena Kagan, who asked, “No longer?” Thomas replied, “Well, so, only on Thursday nights,” which led to laughter.

Thomas and Kagan were not the only ones to weigh in on the matter, as Justice Samuel Alito was quoted as making remarks as well.

Justice Alito observes that Warhol is not alive to explain his work

Alito pointed out how it is impossible to know for certain what meaning Warhol intended to convey with his work given that he is no longer alive.

“There can be a lot of dispute about what the meaning or the message is,” Alito was quoted as saying to one of the lawyers. “I don’t know if you called Andy Warhol as a witness what would he say?”

“I wish I could answer that question. He’s not with us as you know,” the attorney answered. Warhol was shot by radical feminist Valerie Solanas in 1968 and died nearly two decades later of cardiac arrest following gallbladder surgery.