Friday, March 30, 2012

Solicitor General's oral argument in Obamacare case called a "train wreck"

Across the land it's 1L moot court season.  That means as a legal skills professor you may be looking for examples for your students of how to, and how not to, argue your case.  Some commentators are calling Solicitor General David Verrilli's argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in the Obamacare case one of the worst ever.  CNN's Jeff Tobin called it an "awful performance" - a "train wreck."  Mother Jones called it one of the most spectacular "flame-outs" in Supreme Court history.  Given the importance of the case to the Obama administration, they may be right - though on its surface Verrelli's argument isn't obviously less competent than the typical, reasonably prepared practitioner and it certainly comes nowhere close to this infamously bad 7th Circuit oral argument.

But if you think the audio of Verrilli's argument might provide a learning experience for students, or at the very least serve as a timely example of what an appellate argument sounds like, you can click here to get it along with a written transcript courtesy of NPR.


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