I’ll have my Plain English recap of today’s oral arguments in Montgomery v. Louisiana soon, as soon as I figure out what to say. A few random thoughts until then:
Justice Kagan once again proved that she is the hippest Justice, twice referring to “life without parole” sentences as “L-WOP.”
It wasn’t a good day for names and titles at the Court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor called attorney Kyle Duncan — arguing on behalf of Louisiana — “Mr. Winsor,” who would be representing the state of Florida in the second argument of the day. And Duncan himself several times inadvertently demoted Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, referring to him as the “Assistant Solicitor General.”
Speaking of Michael Dreeben, he was fantastic. Young (or not-so-young) lawyers who want to be appellate advocates should listen to tapes of the cases in which he argues, and then go and look at the transcripts too. The man speaks in perfect paragraphs, with none of the filler words that seem to sneak in there for the rest of us. Indeed, when Justice Kennedy asked Dreeben for clarification of a point today, he gave him the ultimate compliment: “You don’t make mistakes.”
Finally, am I the only person who hears the word “youths” and has instant My Cousin Vinny flashbacks?