Oral arguments and Ginger Rogers


So I was preparing for an oral argument using the note card method the other day (thinking of every question a court could possibly ask and honing a snappy response short enough to put on a note card).  It was what CJ Roberts did when he was in private practice, so I figure it's good enough for me.

In engaging in this exercise, I realized that one of the tricky parts of oral argument is having to answer questions backwards.  In most settings, when we attempt to persuade, we go from point A to point B to lead to C.  But there's no time for that in in oral argument.  You have to cut to the chase, and jump directly to C; then if you have time, you go to B and C, and you need to make it all sound coherent at any stopping point. 

In pondering this difficulty, I recalled the famous line about Ginger Rogers (I'm sure that sprang to your mind, too).  When someone rhpasodized, justly, about what a great dancer Fred Astaire was, one reponse was, "Yes, but Ginger Rogers did everything he did — only backwards, and in heels."