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April 25, 2006

Reports on Marsh re-argument

As discussed recently in this post, the Supreme Court this afternoon heard re-argument in the capital case of Kansas v. Marsh (some background here and here and here).  According to this early press report, it was a "deja-vu" experience with a twist:

The high court first heard the case last December, when Sandra Day O'Connor was still on the bench. Last month, the court asked for re-arguments, an unusual step that indicated to some court observers that the court was deadlocked 4-4, and that the newest justice, Samuel Alito, could be the tiebreaker.

Even though the arguments were essentially the same as they were four months ago, several justices seemed engaged by the debate.  Seatmates David Souter and Antonin Scalia took several minutes to essentially argue with each other through aggressive questioning of [the Kansas AG].... Later at a press conference on the court’s front steps, Kline joked about the Scalia-Souter interchange: "I almost sat down."

Alito, who could be the swing vote, was quiet through much of the argument, his elbow propped on the dais and his hand on his chin as he listened to his colleagues question [the counsel for the parties].

I assume the description here of Justices David Souter and Antonin Scalia as "seatmates" is a reference to them sitting near one another, not an indication that they decided to share a single seat for this re-argument.  (Though perhaps one of their chairs was taken out to be cleaned before anyone remembered that a re-argument had been scheduled for this afternoon.)

UPDATE: Here is an AP report on the Marsh arguments today.  And now also this CNN account.

MORE: Dahlia Lithwick has this great Marsh argument review at Slate.

STILL MORE:  How Appealing has assembled local coverage of the Marsh argument here.

April 25, 2006 at 04:18 PM | Permalink


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