For Supreme Court watchers and appellate practitioners, last week brought an interesting development – the Court is changing how it conducts oral argument. Arguments will now feature both unstructured questioning by all justices and then uninterrupted questioning by individual justices. It will be fascinating to watch how this new approach affects oral arguments in the Supreme Court, and whether it will trickle down to other federal and state appellate courts.
As highlighted at SCOTUSblog (here) and the Appellate Advocacy Blog (here and here), the new format first gives counsel two minutes of uninterrupted time, and then allows for free-for-all questioning by the justices for the remainder of counsel’s 30 minutes of argument. That is familiar practice; in a new twist, however, each justice in order of seniority then has the opportunity – after the 30 minutes of time has expired – to question counsel individually. No strict time limit applies to this new segment