“My Knees Were Knocking” – Sotomayor on her first oral argument, Citizens United

February 5th, 2013

Justice Sotomayor’s very first argument on the bench was Citizens United.

Ruby Cramer tweets some her reactions:

And what was Justice Sotomayor’s first question (this is like the stats of a major league players first hit)?

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Mr. Olson, are you giving up on your earlier arguments that there are ways to avoid the constitutional question to resolve this case? I know that we asked for further briefing on this particular issue of overturning two of our Court’s precedents. But are you giving up on your earlier arguments that there are statutory interpretations that would avoid the constitutional question?

And it only took till her third question before she interrupted another Justice–in this case, Justice Stevens.


JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: But the facial challenge —

JUSTICE STEVENS: — may I ask one question you can answer on rebuttal? No one has commented on the National Rifle Association’s amicus brief. None of the — none of the litigants have. That’s in response to Justice Sotomayor’s thought that there are narrow ways of resolving the problem before us. On rebuttal, will you tell us what your view on their solution to this problem is?

MR. OLSON: I will, Justice Stevens.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Why don’t you tell us now. We will give you time for rebuttal.