Paul Clement’s Rule of Two in United States v. Windsor

April 3rd, 2013

I’ve previously noted that one of Paul Clement’s most consistent strategies at oral arguments is to always provide two reasons for everything.

Whenever he is asked a tough question that requires a lengthy answer, he always says there are two possible answers/problems/issues/etc. Always two. He frequently begins this statement with “Well” followed by the Justices’ name.

He did this a bunch in the ACA oral arguments. He also did it consistently in arguments in United States v. Windsor.

Justice Kennedy tries to throw Clement off, but nope, right back to “two things.”

JUSTICE KENNEDY: So you don’t think that  there is anything to the argument that in Chadha the  House had its own unique institutional responsibilities 15 and prerogatives at stake, either the one-house veto or 16 the legislative veto?

MR. CLEMENT: Well, I would say two things. 

JUSTICE KENNEDY: That’s irrelevant?

MR. CLEMENT: I don’t think — I don’t think  it’s irrelevant. I would say two things.

Again, two more things:

MR. CLEMENT: Well, Justice Kennedy, two points.

And two more things:

MR. CLEMENT: Well, I guess I would — I  would say two things. I would say that the first  question would be what’s the relevant level of scrutiny and I assume the level of scrutiny for the things -­

And, finally, two last things:

MR. CLEMENT: Well, at least two — two responses to that, Justice Sotomayor.

H/T Greg Adamo