Solicitor General Kagan has filed a motion for divided argument in Citizens United v. FEC, according to SCOTUSblog.
If the motion is granted, the division would create for a very interesting dynamic for the Court’s special September 9 sitting.
30 minutes – Ted Olson
20 minutes – Elena Kagan
10 minutes – Seth Waxman
Frequent readers of this blog should have the CVs of each of those superstars memorized. If for some reason you can’t recall the most juicy details about each of these individuals, I’ll recap them quickly:
Ted Olson is currently the co-chair of the Appellate and Constitutional Law Group at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (one of his co-chairs is conservative starlet Miguel Estrada). He argued for then-Governor Bush in Bush v. Gore and later served as SG for the first part of the Bush administration. He is possibly the most influential ‘conservative’ lawyer in the insulated world of the Supreme Court bar. He was also a member of the murder boards that prepped Justice Alito for his confirmation hearing. I did a profile on him a few months ago – you can find it here. He has argued 55 cases in the Supreme Court, placing him in the top 5 currently practicing attorneys.
Seth Waxman is the chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group at Wilmer Hale. He was SG for the second part of the Clinton Administration, Waxman is one of the more notable ‘liberal’ attorneys on the Supreme Court bar. He has argued, usually successfully, in some of the most important cases of the last decade: Boumediene, Roper, McConnell v. FEC, US v. Morrison, Saenz v. Roe, Clinton v. City of New York, Reno v. ACLU. He has argued 50-55 cases in the Supreme Court.
Elena Kagan is the Solicitor General of the United States. She was confirmed a few months ago and this will be, by all accounts, her first argument before any court. Not a bad debut.
Oddly enough, Olson and Waxman argued on the same side of this case in 2003 in McConnell v. FEC. At the time, Olson was SG and argued to uphold the campaign finance regime while Waxman represented Senators McCain and Feingold, the same position he is in today. Tony Mauro has an interesting article at the BLT which discusses whether or not there is an ethical concern with Olson seemingly reversing his position on the issue.
If I were to name the top five Supreme Court advocates right now, I’d have to include both Olson and Waxman on that list. Olson argued before the Court six times during OT08 and Waxman argued twice. To top everything off, it will also be Judge Sotomayor’s first time sitting with the Supreme Court!
I’m hoping to head to Washington for arguments in this case. I haven’t finalized anything yet, but if anyone else is planning to go to the arguments, let me know!