MP Chloe Swarbrick’s “OK, Boomer” snipe may have reverberated around the world but until now it had not also reverberated around the lofty chamber of the US Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts (right) is a busy man now with his impeachment trial of Donald Trump proceeding, but the “OK Boomer” reference came just 12 days before the Chief Justice turns 65.
Roberts dropped the meme in questions in a case about age discrimination in the workplace.
“The hiring person, who’s younger, says, ‘OK, Boomer,’ once to the applicant,” Roberts said as he conjured a hypothetical exchange to try to figure out when an older federal employee might be able to win a lawsuit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
It was the first time, according to databases of high court arguments, the somewhat pejorative phrase used by younger people to criticize the less flexible, tolerant and tech-savvy ways of their elders has been uttered in the Supreme Court, where the nine justices range in age from 52 (Neil Gorsuch) to 86 (Ruth Bader Ginsburg).
Apart from Roberts’ boomer reference, 81-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer made reference to a supervisor who was considering candidates for promotion. “I certainly don’t want people who are over the age of 82,” Breyer said, prompting laughter in the courtroom and on the bench.
The justices were considering the case of a Veterans Affairs Department employee who was in her early 50s when she sued for age discrimination after being denied promotions and training opportunities.
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