A New Style at the Supreme Court?
May-3-06 12:55 am
Linda Greenhouse has an interesting article in today's New York Times about preceptions that the Supreme Court has already demonstrated a change in its approach to oral argument under Chief Justice John Roberts. Greenhouse notes:
While it is too soon for substantive appraisals of the first year of the Roberts court, it is not too soon for stylistic observations about what is clearly, in the view of lawyers who have appeared there this term, a different court.
"The tone has changed," Prof. Richard J. Lazarus of the Georgetown University Law Center, where he runs the Supreme Court Institute and teaches a course on Supreme Court advocacy, said on Tuesday.
In common with every other Supreme Court specialist contacted for this article, Professor Lazarus listed several obvious changes. "They're not stepping on each other," he said of the justices. "They take longer before someone asks the first question. They give the lawyers more time to answer."
Beth S. Brinkmann, like Professor Lazarus a veteran of the solicitor general's office, who now represents private clients before the court, said of the new courtroom experience: "You sit there and think, 'Whoa, isn't anyone going to ask a question?' "
Carter G. Phillips, one of the most active current practitioners, said the change had been so abrupt as to be a trap for an unwary counsel. "You have to be ready now to make some kind of affirmative presentation" in the opening minutes of an argument, he said.This seems to be a very positive development. It will be most interesting to see how if the Court has changed in its jurisprudence.
Tags: Supreme Court
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