Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Phenomenal Achievement

The coming week will be a busy one at the Supreme Court, with D.C. v. Heller (a.k.a. the D.C. guns case) coming up on Tuesday and five arguments on tap for the week in total.  But the folks at SCOTUSblog tell us that this week will also see a remarkable career milestone for one Supreme Court advocate:

But there’s also one other landmark that should not be overlooked — one that will occur in the very first case of the session, Philippines v. Pimentel: When Deputy Solicitor General Ed Kneedler stands up on Monday morning to argue for the United States as amicus curiae, he will be making his one-hundredth argument before the Court. If Westlaw is to be believed, Ed’s first argument was in United States v. Bailey, on November 7, 1979. (He won a reversal, 7-2.) Ed’s is the eighth-highest total ever (and with a half-dozen more he’ll pass none other than Francis Scott Key). The only living advocate with more arguments is Ed’s former colleague Larry Wallace.

To make one argument before the Court is an a great feat; to make a hundred is something that no sensible young lawyer hopes to accomplish.  That Kneedler's 100 arguments will put him in only eighth-place in the books is astounding.

By the way, check back tomorrow for a preview of the Heller argument and some post-argument coverage of Rothgery v. Gillespie County, an interesting Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel case that will be heard by the Court tomorrow morning.   (And remember, for more info on any constitutional case before the Court this term you can turn to my compilation on the matter, accessible via the link in the upper right hand corner of the main page.)


Alex said...

I read Chemerinsky's (sp) amicus brief to the Court on Heller. I was prepared to discount it as biased, but I thought it was pretty good. I think he basically said: individual right (or assumed it without saying so), reasonableness test. He was very convincing on the reasonableness standard of review. (I suppose "shall not be infringed" has long since been overcome as a potential strict scrutiny obstacle given the many, presumably upheld, gun laws)

I look forward to your take on the commas, Brian.

Brian said...


I'll defer a full discussion of my views on the Second Amendmment till tomorrow, but on the individual right vs. collective right debate I'll copy the brief response I made to that question for one of those sort-of-silly Facebook "debates":

"The framers' use of the phrase 'the people' -- which has been interpreted (correctly) with virtually every other amendment as conferring individual rights -- and the original understanding of term "militia" as encompassing all able bodied men in the population both strongly support that conclusion [that the amendment confers individual rights]."

Tuesday is going to be an exceedingly fun day.