Roberts Interrupts Sotomayor?

October 15th, 2013

It seems towards the end of Ed Kneedler’s time at the podium today during Daimler AG v. Bauman, Justice Sotomayor was talking during Kneedler’s yellow light [Update: I’m told that at the Court, the warning light is “white” not “yellow”]. I can’t quite make out what happened, but I assume that Kneedler indicated, while Sotomayor was talking, that he had some closing thoughts. The Chief interrupted Sotomayor to let Kneedler get his final thoughts out (Sotomayor may have been saying that there isn’t much time left). I think. What do you think based on this transcript?

MR. KNEEDLER: Well, I — under this agreement, MBUSA is — acts independently. It does not act day to day directly.

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: It seems an odd thing to say given the page and a half that the lower court went through on the various ways in which Germany controls this subsidiary. It appoints all its officers. It approves all its operating procedures. It approves all of the people it hires and fires. It seems like there isn’t much left for what -¬≠

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I don’t think there was a question, but you can respond. (Laughter.)

MR. KNEEDLER: Those are contractual undertakings. They are not the manifestations of¬†agency. Agency would require that — that Daimler control the day-to-day operations of this subsidiary. And at page 116A of the petition appendix, the district court says there’s no evidence of that whatsoever.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Thank you, counsel.

Relatedly, I am writing an article that looks at all of the interruptions on the bench.