Today’s New York Times article about Paul Clement, “Lawyer Opposing Health Law is Familiar Face to the Justices“, reminds me of an interesting moment that happened at oral arguments a few years ago. The exchange took place in Perdue v. Kenny A. between Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, and Paul Clement, who was appearing before the Justices for the first time after leaving the Solicitor General’s office.

The question in the case was whether the lodestar analysis in a fee shifting statute can be adjusted upwards based on performance alone.

Chief Justice Roberts: Maybe we have a different perspective. You think the lawyers are responsible for a good result, and I think the judges are.

(Laughter.)

Mr. Clement: And maybe your perspective’s changed, Your Honor.

(Laughter.)

Mr. Clement: But I would say certainly in the context of a consent decree, when to give up, when to fight further, is going to be factored into the results. And I think it’s a fair point that a judge in today’s system, especially in the context of class relief like this, sees a lot of cases that end up with a coupon settlement that really doesn’t do any good for the class. They’re –

Justice Alito: Maybe — maybe your perspective has changed too, Mr. Clement.

(Laughter.)

Justice Alito: But your argument is that, you know, for $495 an hour you really can’t get a good lawyer? You need to have — you need to pay more than that?

Mr. Clement: Well, on that my perspective has changed, Your Honor.

(Laughter.)

You can listen to the audio of this exchange below:


1 Response to “A Classic Oral Argument Passage”

  1. 1 Bypeprorm

    The best internet hosting expeirance can come from only one hold. This is why most people recommend this specific host as the one that provides the best support and best programs.
    hosting 2012


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Random Posts

  • Supreme Court Releases Four Opinions; Ten Remain: The Supreme Court released four divided opinions today including a very interesting case rejecting an inmate's right to test the DNA used to...
  • Term Index Updated: I've updated the Term Case Index to reflect the four opinions handed down this week. Earlier today I released opinion authorship statistics ...
  • PDF Packs for the Past Decade: I've been pillaging the Supreme Court's website in search of PDFs that I can archive for future reference. Using the Court's website and the...
  • Chief Justice Roberts and Unanimous Decisions: When he was nominated to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts mentioned that one of his main objectives as chief justice would be to cre...
  • January Hearing List Released: The Supreme Court has released the Hearing List for the January sitting and you can find it here. Several high-profile advocates are back...