Sarah Harris Featured in Article: "What Leading Appellate Lawyers Say About Historic SCOTUS Arguments"

May 2020

On May 13, 2020 partner Sarah Harris was featured in The National Law Journal discussing the recent historic Supreme Court arguments via teleconference. The article, titled "What Leading Appellate Lawyers Say About Historic SCOTUS Arguments," quoted a handful of veteran appellate attorneys and sought their assessment of the arguments. Sarah noted that "[t]he biggest effect of the format is that the senior justices’ questions end up framing the argument to a significant degree. By the time the junior justices get their turns, most of the probing big-picture questions have been asked, so the later questions often press advocates on prior questions or ask difficult hypotheticals to follow up on what’s already been said. The net effect has been that advocates have had more opportunity to stake out their positions in this format and that the justices have more ability to drill down."

The Supreme Court started hearing arguments via telephone on May 4, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the first time made live audio available to the public. Williams & Connolly partner Lisa Blatt presented the very first telephonic oral argument to the Supreme Court in U.S. Patent & Trademark Office v.; Sarah was lead brief-writer and second-chaired the case.

Next term, Sarah will argue Salinas v. U.S. Railroad Retirement Board on behalf of petitioner Manfredo Salinas, a former railroad worker. The question presented is whether courts of appeal have jurisdiction to review Railroad Retirement Board decisions denying requests to reopen prior benefits determinations.

Click here to read "What Leading Appellate Lawyers Say About Historic SCOTUS Arguments" in The National Law Journal.

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