Supreme Court Press Event

The law library staff had two attendees at today’s terrific D.C. Bar event, The Supreme Court: The View from the Press Gallery. The all-star panel included:  Robert Barnes (Washington Post), Joan Biskupic (Reuters), Jesse Holland (Associated Press), Adam Liptak (New York Times), Tony Mauro (Gannett), David Savage (Los Angeles Times), and moderator Arthur Spitzer (ACLU).


In addition to the anticipated discussion of some of the major Supreme Court decisions of the October 2012 term, the panel offered some interesting tidbits/quips about the Court, including:

  • Lawyers arguing a conservative position especially worry about questions from Justice Kagan, those arguing a liberal position get some of the toughest questions from Justice Alito.
  • The press views Justice Kagan as one of the Court’s best writers.
  • Each year Justice Scalia dissents at least once from the bench.  He spoke for 13 minutes about the DOMA case.
  • Justice Alito can’t keep a poker face. Reminiscent of the 2010 State of the Union Address, he shook his head and rolled his eyes while Justice Ginsburg gave an oral dissent in the voting rights case.
  • Successful Supreme Court litigators need to field many questions at once and answer them in order of seniority.
  • There are 36 possible pairs of justices who can vote together. The three female justices vote with each other 93 percent of the time.
  • No technology is permitted in the courtroom, so Tom Goldstein from SCOTUSbllog has to write in the Court cafeteria.
  • The running of the interns onto the Court plaza with copies of opinions for the press was new this year.
  • While it appears from the news reports that protesters are often at the Court, in fact they are currently prohibited from protesting on the Supreme Court Plaza.

C-Span’s recording of this event will be available in the C-Span Library (“Reporters Weigh in on Supreme Court Decisions”).