Judges on Judging: Views from the Bench

By David M. O'Brien | Go to book overview

10
The Role of Oral Argument

JOHN M. HARLAN II Justice, Supreme Court of the United States

I think that there is some tendency . . . to regard the oral argument as little more than a traditionally tolerated part of the appellate process. The view is widespread that when a court comes to the hard business of decision, it is the briefs, and not the oral argument, which count. I think that view is a greatly mistaken one. . . .

First of all, judges have different work habits. There are judges who listen better than they read and who are more receptive to the spoken word than the written word.

Secondly, the first impressions that a judge gets of a case are very tenacious. They frequently persist into the conference room. And those impressions are usually gained from the oral argument, if it is an effective job. While I was on the court of appeals, I kept a sort of informal scoreboard of the cases in which I sat, so as to match up the initial reactions which I had to the cases after the close of the oral argument with the final conclusions that I had reached when it came time to vote at the conferences on the decision of those cases. I was astonished to find during the year I sat on that court how frequently--in fact, more times than not--the views which I had at the end of the day's session jibed with the final views that I formed after the more careful study of the briefs which, under our system in the Second Circuit, came in the period between the closing of the arguments and the voting at the conference.

Thirdly, the decisional process in many courts places a special burden on the oral argument. I am giving away no secrets, I am sure, when I say that in one of the courts of appeals where I was assigned to sit temporarily the voting on the cases took place each day following the close of the arguments. In the Supreme Court, our practice, as is well known, has been to hold our conferences at the end of each week of arguments. They have been on Saturdays up until now, but under a more enlightened schedule they will

-99-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Judges on Judging: Views from the Bench
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 364

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.