Oral argument – the fundamentals

Practice area:

There has been much publicity about the clubbiness of the US Supreme Court, including how, if you want your cert petition granted, you’d better have the signature of one of the handful of folks they like to hear argue on the petition.  These are the Lucky Few who (1) went to Harvard or Yale; (2) clerked for a Supreme Court Justice; and (3) then typically went to the Solicitor General’s office for a few years before hitting the Supreme Court boutiques.  See http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/scotus/

Reaction to this insularity has not been positive, particularly from the bar, most of whom secretly hope to argue in front of the Supremes in their lifetime, and believe they can do it as well as (or better than) anyone else.

There is something to be said about this view:  the Supreme Court should not shut its doors to the good number of lawyers practiced in oral argument throughout the country who would do a great job.  Having the court only hear from a small segment of the population is neither a good thing or fair.

On the other hand, the link below provides some explanation as to why the Supreme Court, hearing very serious issues of national import, wants at least some assurance as to the quality of the lawyers appearing before it: