February 25, 2008
State amici shut out, SG gets extra time: is the fix in in Heller?
For anyone (like me) eager to see a robust Second Amendment right protected by the courts, today's Supreme Court order list concerning argument time in Heller provides an ominous tea leaf to read. Tony Mauro in this post provides the story:
In a brief order on today's order list the Supreme Court dashed the hopes of gun rights advocates who hoped to have two lawyers and additional time arguing their cause before the Supreme Court when it hears arguments in the historic case D.C. v. Heller March 18.
Without explanation, the Court denied the motion of Texas Solicitor General R. Ted Cruz for argument time on the side of Alan Gura of Gura & Possessky, who has argued the pro-Second Amendment position from the start of the case. But the Court did agree to give Solicitor General Paul Clement 15 minutes to argue, in addition to the 30 minutes for each side in the case.
The Court's action can be read as a small but not insignificant victory for supporters of D.C.'s handgun control ordinance at issue in the case.... Walter Dellinger of O'Melveny & Myers, who will argue in defense of the D.C. handgun ban, had opposed the Texas motion, but supported Clement's request for added argument time.... [E]ven though Clement's brief lends support to both sides, the net effect of today's Court action is that the justices will hear 45 minutes of advocacy from those who want the lower court ruling eliminated, and 30 minutes from those who want it upheld.
Some recent related posts on the Heller case and the Second Amendment:
February 25, 2008 at 04:59 PM | Permalink
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I wouldn't read too much into those leaves. It's not unusual for SCOTUS to let the SG into oral argument and turn down other amici. It is rare for the SG to be turned down. States get in more than private organizations, but not as regularly as the SG.
Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Feb 25, 2008 7:47:29 PM
Same comment as Mr. Scheidegger. The SG is rarely turned down. Other amici are rarely allowed.
Ted Cruz would probably have added something to the arguments, but had Texas been allowed argument time, then the Supremes would be criticized for not allowing an amicus on the other side to argue. 3 parties arguing in the same case is enough. 4 or 5 could get confusing without adding much of substance.
Posted by: | Feb 26, 2008 1:48:14 AM
The SG of course has certain privileges as the representtation of the interests of the nation. But I can't see where allowing Ted Cruz in would have been a problem, since he didn't ask for extra time, but only for part of Respondent's time.
Posted by: David Hardy | Feb 27, 2008 11:50:14 PM