Well, This was Inevitable

By , November 1, 2013 4:01 pm

The New Yorker has its say on the Affordable Care rollout.

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And Now for Something Completely Different

By , November 1, 2013 10:37 am

If you’ve ever wondered what happens in the Supreme Court, you’re living at the right time. The Internet generally and Oyez.org particularly open the door to the court so that as early as the day of an oral argument, you can actually listen to the argument as you read the transcript of the argument. Obviously, if you can do that, you can also listen to older oral arguments, even arguments as old as Roe v. Wade, the abortion decision, or New York Times v. Sullivan, the decision that established the actual malice standard in defamation cases, or New York Times v. Nixon, the so-called Pentagon Papers case. It’s fascinating–at least to me.

Sometimes the arguments can be dry, but often some humor sneaks in and other times, you might hear a justice ask a question or an attorney tell a story that suddenly casts a decision into an entirely new light. That happened to me with the Boumediene v. Bush case, a case involving a detainee in Guantanamo and the Military Commissions Act. At the close of his rebuttal argument, Boumediene’s attorney, Seth Waxman, relates what he calls a “truly kafka-esque” story of a Mr. Bilgen, who had also been a detainee, accused of being a terrorist. The story is too long and complicated to repeat here, but you can listen to it here–beginning at the 80:11 mark of the argument. (Before you listen, you should know the meaning of the acronym CSRT.)

The technology the Court uses has improved over the years, so the recordings of oral arguments today are much better than they were, say, in the time of Roe v. Wade. In any case, take a look at Oyez.org (and even a tour) and take time to listen to some of these arguments.

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