Last Updated on January 15, 2020
The instant classic phrase, ‘OK, Boomer,’ has made its debut at the Supreme Court.
The term, beginning as a meme to dismiss internet users whose views prove unpopular or antiquated, appeared in an age discrimination case.
Chief Justice John Roberts was showing off his knowledge of intergenerational terminology when dropping the phrase.
“OK, Boomer” was used in a hypothetical question concerning age discrimination in the workplace, eliciting raucous laughter.
According to CNN, the hypothetical question was posed as if a hiring person were to say, “OK Boomer.”
Justice Roberts inquired, “Is that actionable?”
Robert Martinez, the lawyer on the podium, immediately replied: “Well if the speech in the workplace….calling someone ‘Boomer’ or saying unflattering things about them in age, when considering them for a position, then yes of course.”
Justice Roberts continued, “So calling somebody a ‘Boomer’ and considering them for a position would be actionable?”
“If the decision makers are sitting around the table and they say, ‘we’ve got Candidate A who’s 35’ and ‘we’ve got Candidate B who’s 55 and is a Boomer’ — and is probably tired and you know, doesn’t have a lot of computer skills, I think that absolutely would be actionable. ”
Maybe first ever invocation of "OK, boomer" in Supreme Court. Roberts uses phrase in hypothetical about age discrimination. #SCOTUS
— Mark Sherman (@shermancourt) January 15, 2020
Following on from the exchange between Justice Roberts and Martinez, KSL reported that 81-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer brought up a hypothetical made-up supervisor reviewing candidates for promotion. He said, “I certainly don’t want people who are over the age of 82,” prompting ample laughter in the courtroom.
According to NBC:
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).
The introduction of the prominent intent catchphrase already broke several headlines across the media.
"OK, Boomer" has received its first invocation in US Supreme Court history via prominent baby boomer Chief Justice John Roberts. https://t.co/ZJzjs21iAV
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 15, 2020
“OK, Boomer" made its first appearance in the Supreme Court, invoked by baby boomer Chief Justice John Roberts. He used it in questions in a case about age discrimination in the workplace. https://t.co/yIgUaaqTWq
— KSL (@KSLcom) January 15, 2020
It’s not the first time “OK, Boomer” has been used in a political context.
In New Zealand, a millennial MP responded to a heckler with the dismissive catchphrase.