Amy Coney Barrett’s First Day of Oral Arguments

The Supreme Court is now at full force with nine justices sitting in on oral arguments. Justice Barrett had her first day of arguments yesterday participating in both Salinas v. Railroad Retirement Bd. and United States Fish and Wildlife Serv. v. Sierra Club, Inc. Barrett’s first day of oral arguments was different from that of…

Is Oral Argument Talking Time All It’s Cut Out to Be?

Supreme Court oral arguments are not all what they seem. While at first blush they may appear to be an opportunity for attorneys to make their arguments before the judges, they often become instances for the justices to test out their theories of a given case and to gauge other justices’ positions on given topics….

Competition to Speak During 2018 Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Oral arguments for the 2018 term are now complete. In a term where we have the potential to see heightened polarization on the Court like never before, oral arguments are impacted as well.  One indicator of this harkens back to the previous term where all 5-4 decisions made across ideological lines ended in conservative victories.  So…

Looking Back to Assess the Potential Future of Oral Arguments

Over the past several years the Supreme Court has undergone substantial change. Not only has the face of the Court shifted, but so has its center with the departure of Justice Kennedy. Oral arguments offer the only vantage into the interactions and dynamics between the justices and provide some context for how they might vote…

The Hottest Bench in Town

The practice of Supreme Court oral arguments has changed dramatically over time. Once multi-day events, Supreme Court oral arguments now typically take place in a one hour time span, only with some exceptions granted by the justices.  Not only has the time allotted to arguments changed but so has the justices’ engagement.  This increased engagement has…

Don’t Cite Me Like That

An interesting debate was reignited by the Chief Justice’s majority opinion in Minnesota Voter’s Alliance v. Mansky. This debate surrounds the effect of oral arguments, if any, on the justices’ decisions.  Here is one of the sections from Roberts’ majority opinion in that case that refers to oral arguments. In this example, as is the case…

Justice Sotomayor Shaking Up Post-Scalia Oral Arguments

f (image via Los Angeles Times) It has been over a month since Justice Scalia, one of the most engaged Justices in oral arguments since he was confirmed to the Court in 1986, passed away on February 13, 2016.  For all of the commentary surrounding his passing and on the questions surrounding the process of…

Oral Arguments in Nichols v. United States

Federal laws for registered sex offenders are designed to be clear – under the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) if you are on this list and you move residences you need to update your residency.  And yet, what happens if you leave the United States? SORNA does not specify.  This is the issue…

Forecasting Votes in Hellerstedt

On March 2nd, the Court heard oral arguments in perhaps the most publicized case of the Term – Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (No. 15-274).  The case brings into question Texas’ new controversial law limiting who can perform abortions. Prior to oral arguments expectations were already high that the Justices would split along ideological lines…