In about fifteen minutes, the Supreme Court will start hearing oral argument in two big-ticket cases about the use of race as a factor in assigning students to public schools. One case comes from Louisville, Kentucky, and the other from Seattle, Washington.
Expect a packed courtroom — the cases are sexy enough to merit same-day audio — and some less-than-stellar advocacy. From Tony Mauro of the Legal Times:
[T]he suspense will [also] focus on Teddy Gordon, the Louisville solo practitioner who will argue against using race. His nine-page merits brief was attacked as “extremely weak” by Columbia Law School professor Michael Dorf, a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy who wondered in a Findlaw column why Gordon should be allowed to “waste everybody’s time” at argument.
The Court may feel the same way. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who sides with Gordon, asked for 10 minutes of Gordon’s half-hour argument time. The Court gave Clement 15 instead, an unusual move. Top practitioners could not persuade Gordon, who has handled the case since 1999, to step aside.
Ouch. At that point, Gordon should have taken the hint. But then again, he can’t be blamed for wanting to tell his grandkids that he once argued before the SCOTUS.
[A spokeswoman for Gordon] acknowledges that he “has never been inside the [Supreme Court] building,” but adds that he did buy a suit for the occasion “from the famous French designer Jacques Penney.”
If that was a joke, it wasn’t funny.
(Yes, we know that David Boies used to wear Sears suits to court — which is almost as bad as wearing J.C. Penney. But that’s David Boies.)
Schoolyard Bullies: Landmark Race Cases Come Before High Court [Legal Times]
Chief Justice Roberts Advocates the Passive Virtues, Even as the Supreme Court’s Docket Reveals their Subtle Vices [FindLaw]
Schools argument 12/4/06: Could this be “Brown III”? [SCOTUSblog]