Justice Samuel Alito, who is relatively subdued on the bench, was more blunt about the interruptions of counsel, and justices speaking over each other.
"Trying to get in a question at oral argument is really like trying to grab an item that's on sale at Walmart the day after Thanksgiving," Alito said in his trademark deadpan manner two weeks ago, in a speech at the State Bar of Texas.
Justice Samuel Alito has long had a reputation of taking his job seriously. Unlike Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, or Elena Kagan, he rarely jokes from the bench.
And for those who do not know him personally or covered him for any length of time, his personal demeanor can come off as harsh or overly intense.
Now some progressive groups have suggested Alito's recent behavior was a violation of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.
The Washington Post and Atlantic magazine said he acted with "judicial intemperance" and "inexcusable rudeness" at the June 25 public session of the court.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sitting next to Alito, was reading an oral dissent, criticizing the majority's ruling in a workplace discrimination case.
The isolated media reports said Alito, without speaking, rolled his eyes, shook his head, and looked at the ceiling.
The reporters claimed other incidents of "rude behavior" in the days prior when Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Kagan also spoke from the bench.
CNN did not witness the alleged incidents, but other justices have long been observed appearing a bit distracted when opinions are read in open session.
It is a process that can drag on for half-hour or more when the rest of the court must sit in silence.
The backdrop to all this involves Alito's public display during the nationally televised 2010 State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama.
Alito was among several conservative justices sitting just feet away, when the president attacked a majority ruling on campaign finance reform.
Cameras showed Alito appearing to mouth the words "not true" at Obama's assertion the opinion would open floodgates to uncontrolled corporate spending in federal elections.
The progressive Alliance for Justice now says Alito's demeanor last week suggested a disrespect for women.
"Perhaps Alito felt he could pull the same stunt again because this time, no one outside the courtroom actually would see his antics -- they could only be described by those who were there," said a blog posting by the group Monday.
Cameras are not allowed in the high court.
Those who know the 63-year-old New Jersey native are privately upset at suggestions Alito is personally antagonistic toward women, or to any of his colleagues.
Several people close to him told CNN Alito is a sensitive, thoughtful man, without affectation or animus. They also admit he possesses an often biting sense of humor.
In a letter to the editor published Friday in the Washington Post, two former law clerks called the media reports "character attacks" on the conservative justice.
"This suggestion is offensive and couldn't be further from the truth, as his many female clerks can attest," said William Ranney Levi and Dana Remus. "Those of us who have been fortunate to work closely with Justice Alito know that he is a good man who serves every day with humility, dedication and incredible intelligence and insight."
Alito himself had no comment on the reports.