3D particle-in-cell simulations demonstrate that the enhanced transparency of a relativistically hot plasma is sensitive to how the energy is partitioned between different degrees of freedom. For an anisotropic electron distribution, propagation characteristics, like the critical density, will depend on the polarization of the electromagnetic wave. Despite the onset of the Weibel instability in such plasmas, the anisotropy can persist long enough to affect laser propagation. This plasma can then function as a polarizer or a wave plate to dramatically alter the pulse polarization. © 2015 American Physical Society. © 2015 American Physical Society.