'OK Boomer' makes its way into Supreme Court during age discrimination case

The viral phrase was uttered by Chief Justice John Roberts.

January 15, 2020, 5:18 PM

From the twittersphere to the Supreme Court.

"OK boomer" made its way into America's highest court on Wednesday as the justices were hearing a case on age discrimination.

Chief Justice John Roberts uttered the phrase -- a dig intended for the baby boomer generation -- that took Twitter by storm.

Roberts was asking whether or not a young hiring employee saying "OK boomer" to an older prospective employee could be the basis for a discrimination claim, according to a transcript of the hearing.

The transcript notes laughter broke out after Roberts said the words.

The lawyer at the podium, Roman Martinez, responds wondering whether or not it was just a "stray comment" or if it affected the decision making process.

PHOTO: Chief Justice John Roberts poses for the official group photo at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, Nov. 30, 2018.
Chief Justice John Roberts poses for the official group photo at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, Nov. 30, 2018.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

"You know, using ethnic slurs or, you know, calling people 'boomer' or saying unflattering things about them in age when considering them for a position, then, yes, of course," Martinez continued on whether or not action could be taken because of the phrase.

A back-and-forth between Roberts and Martinez then ensued, with Martinez ultimately saying that if it was determined that the "statement reflected was one of the factors going into this decision, I think it absolutely would be covered."

The case at the Supreme Court involved a Department of Veteran Affairs employee who sued the VA and said her bosses discriminated against her based on her age and gender.

The high court heard arguments regarding the case to determine what an older federal employee must prove to show they were discriminated against because of their age and bring a lawsuit to court under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

It's not the first time the viral phrase has made its way into the judiciary system.

In New Zealand, a 25-year-old member of parliament, Chlöe Swarbrick, used the phrase when speaking on climate change.

"In the year 2050 I will be 56 years old. Yet right now the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old," Swarbrick said as someone off camera was heard heckling her.

Without missing a beat, Swarbrick hit back with "OK boomer" and continued on.

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