In the Press
May 23, 2023

Long High Court Sessions Makes Advocates Happy, Stomachs Grumble (Bloomberg Law)

Eighty percent of Supreme Court arguments went over their allotted time this term, for an average of nearly 30 additional minutes. The culprit is the pandemic-era shift away from the traditional free-for-all format that was largely time limited to a hybrid one that also includes a round robin. The shift began during the pandemic when the justices moved to hear arguments by phone in May 2020 and asked questions in turn for the first time. The new format dramatically added to argument time and prompted greater participation by Justice Clarence Thomas. He became a regular questioner after decades staying mostly silent. William Jay, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation partner, said that it’s not a trivial issue to get to speak with Thomas. “I’ve argued five IP cases and Justice Thomas wrote the majority or the dissent in all of them,” Jay said to Bloomberg Law. “And he’s never asked me a question.” Being able to engage all the justices is really important, he said.