'OK, boomer' makes it to Supreme Court as Chief Justice John Roberts asks if phrase is ageist, divides internet

Roberts mentioned the phrase in the SC during the discussion of a work discrimination case first brought forth by Noris Babb in 2014.


                            'OK, boomer' makes it to Supreme Court as Chief Justice John Roberts asks if phrase is ageist, divides internet
Chief Justice John Roberts (Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, on Wednesday, asked an attorney in the Supreme Court whether the use of the phrase "OK, boomer" by an employer could qualify as age discrimination. The question raised by baby boomer Roberts, who is set to turn 65 this month, however, has the internet divided, with most millennials claiming that the boomer generation is quick to take offense.

Roberts mentioned the phrase in the SC during the discussion of a work discrimination case first brought forth by Noris Babb in 2014. In the case, the Florida resident has alleged that the Department of Veterans Affairs denied promotion opportunities to her because of her gender and age. Her attorneys attempted to make the case to the Supreme Court, stating that her age played a "motivating factor" in the alleged discrimination. 

Although it is not yet clear from the court transcript if Babb was referred to as a Baby Boomer during her time at the VA, Justice Roberts, however, used the case to describe the phrase "Ok, boomer" as a potentially "actionable" offense.

Roberts, in the court, hypothesized, saying: "Let’s say", in the course of a "weeks-long process," a hiring manager said "Ok, boomer" just once to an applicant. He asked the lawyer if the phrase could then be used in an ageism case.

United States Supreme Court (Front L-R) Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. (Getty Images)

Babb’s attorney, Roman Martinez, responded with saying that the phrase shows disdain for older candidates and this can prove potential discrimination based on age. Roberts, however, interjected, saying that such a definition could limit free expression: "Your position is going to become a really just a regulation of speech in the workplace."

Shortly after the news broke, the millennial brigade on Twitter was quick to point out how a baby boomer had asked whether the phrase was offensive or not. While many could not believe this was being discussed in the Supreme Court in association with an age discrimination case, many others wondered if phrases used against them like "snowflakes" would also be brought under the scanner by the top court. 

"Ok Boomer is a political phrase decrying outdated ideas and norms, not about age," Twitter user Sean Rice wrote. "But they can keep calling millennials "snowflakes" and "deadbeats" but now they're off to the Supreme Court because their feelings are hurt? #okboomer," wrote another. 

"Haha wow. The irony is how much that generation talks about the Millienials generation being soft," user imnotvegan wrote.

"That's like, the most "okay Boomer" thing to ask ever," another user said, referring to the question asked by Justice Roberts.

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