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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Arthur Miller and Scalia Spar in Oral Argument before Supreme Court

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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If you’re like me the sonorous northern twang of Arthur Miller’s Brooklyn accent (from the CivPro Sum and Substance series) is burned into my brain. For that reason, this brief exchange, from Miller’s oral argument before SCOTUS in Tellabs v. Makor seemed particularly hilarious.

Scalia clearly was on the side of the companies, chiming in from time to time to make Miller’s difficult task a bit harder.

After one remark, Miller let loose: “Is that because you never met a plaintiff you really liked?”

Lawyers who argue at the Court are advised to devote their precious time to serious matters because jokes often fall flat.

But this one didn’t. There was laughter and an “ooh” from spectators. Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas laughed for several seconds, even after arguments resumed.

Granted this would not be particularly funny in any other context, but it is the Supreme Court and it is Scalia and I’m willing to wager this moment gratified the latent desires of many of many less forthright advocates to appear before the court.

Law.com: Scalia and Harvard Law Professor Trade Barbs in Court

Nothing up yet, but it might be worth checking back in the not too distant future to see if the audio of the oral argument pops up on Oyez.org.

Oyez.org: Tellabs Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights

Note to self, probably not something to try out in the moot court competition this weekend…

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