, 18 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
When I lived in the DC Metro and served as Senior Counsel for the @ACLJ, I attended many #SCOTUS arguments. @realDonaldTrump's recent action limiting funding for family planning services ...
requiring grantee organizations to segregate their abortion referral and abortion services from their Title X funded family planning services reminded me of one of my favorite moments in a #SCOTUS oral argument.
I have seen some of the leading religious liberties attorneys argue at the Court, including #DougLaycock and #MichaelMcConnell. I have also sat in on arguments in key cases on abortion, on free speech, and on federal election law.
During this period, I've watched Chief Justices Rehnquist and Roberts, & Justices Brennan, White, Marshall, Blackmun, Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Souter, O'Connor, Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Some -- Justice Thomas famously -- nearly never spoke in an argument.
Others were garrulous ... Scalia and Ginsburg certainly come to mind. Some -- seemed intent on portraying a solonic self -- Breyer always presented a Brahman profile and used his hands much like a Lionel Barrymore portrayal of Julius Caesar.
Some, as the sad case of Justice Marshall presented, were on the bench much longer than their minds could justify;
I've told the story before of his awaking mid-argument in a case on the question of whether the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was clothed with constitutional immunity from suit. He roused from his slumber to demand an answer from counsel for the Port Authority:
"I remember decades ago when they put those toll booths on the bridge, they promised the booths would come down when the bridge was paid for ... well, has the bridge been paid for?"
The question might have been a good question ... it was, however, unrelated to the issue of constitutional immunity. It wasn't long after that he retired from the Court.
So, as I said, the return of closer regulation of TItle X grantees reminded me of a favorite moment in a #SCOTUS oral argument. That argument was the first one I ever watched as a member of the bar of the Court; I was, in fact, admitted on motion on the morning of that argument.
The case was Rust v. Sullivan. And counsel for family planning agencies challenging the so-called "gag rule" was famed constitutional scholar @tribelaw, Laurence Tribe.
As counsel for the Petitioner, Tribe had the right to open the argument, and to reserve some of his allotted 30 minutes for rebuttal following the Respondent's argument.

The podium from which attorneys argue is equipped with a system of lights to help counsel keep track of time.
Some attorneys -- Ted Olson, former Solicitor General under George W. Bush -- took great pains to manage their argument time. General Olson famously wore two wristwatches during oral argument as part of his time management.
Tribe, who had once argued that he was entitled to a bonus award of attorneys fees because of his "membership" in the rarified Supreme Court practice bar, lost track of time.
With the RED LIGHT illuminated ... indicating his entire allotted time for argument had expired, he stated, with some exasperation:

"I had meant to save some time for rebuttal."
Chief Justice Rehnquist brooked no foolishness from arguing counsel. Tribe's plaintive expression of regret elicited no sympathy from the Chief, and certainly didn't buy him a moment of additional time for rebuttal. All he got was Rehnquist's gruff: "Well, you didn't."
I know it was petty of me to enjoy that moment, but there you have it, me being petty when Tribe, famed constitutional professor was making what turned out to be a failed argument against the constitutional power of the government to attach strings to its funding programs.
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