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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Maybe it is seniority

Early in last week's argument in Packingham v. North Carolina, the Chief "called on" Justice Ginsburg over Justice Kagan. It does appear that the answer to who gets precedence is seniority. Which makes sense, given how everything else runs in that institution.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 4, 2017 at 10:50 AM in Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


It's on page 4. The transcript says it was Kalgan.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Mar 4, 2017 11:17:58 PM

I wasn't there, so I can only go by the audio:


The audio to my ear does have the justices virtually speaking at the same time -- which would suggest why Roberts would need to choose (if one clearly was first, it would be easier) -- but RBG does sound like she gets it in a tic first. This wouldn't surprise me since she is known to be enthusiastic in getting a question in first or early on.

It sounds like maybe Kagan was about the say something but yes the other justice voice that is clearest is Sotomayor.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 4, 2017 11:02:51 PM

Having been at the argument, they both started their questions at virtually the exact same time; the transcript will have to list somebody as "starting" first, and perhaps the program does accurately capture who is the first speaker even in cases that would be indistinguishable to the naked ear, but it seemed simultaneous to me. I recall this only because, having commented on Howard's question last week, it was interesting to see the issue play out in real-time (although my recollection had been that it was Justice Sotomayor, not Justice Kagan).

Posted by: Patrick | Mar 4, 2017 7:18:47 PM

The transcript has RBG starting to talk first.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 4, 2017 5:54:25 PM

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