#SCOTUS Life Goals: RBG References My Breyer-Page Statistics During 2nd Circuit Judicial Conference

May 27th, 2016

Yesterday Justice Ginsburg addressed the 2nd Circuit Judicial Conference. She made some news with her comment that “Eight is not a good number” for the Court, but the far more momentous occasion came when she discussed records set during the Term. This morning Will Baude emailed me, and said “RBG just mentioned you in her speech at the second circuit judicial conference.” I patiently waited for the transcript to be posted, and she did not disappoint.

From her prepared remarks:

Records set during the term. According to a law professor who keeps tabs on these things, then blogs about them, Justice Breyer asked the longest question at oral argument. In United States v. Texas, a challenge to the President’s immigration executive order, Breyer’s inquiry ran 52 transcript lines.

That law professor would be me! #SCOTUS life goals. Not as good as an actual citation in the U.S. Reports, but I’ll take it for a start.

I am glad to perform this public service, and do whatever is in my power to highlight the plight of the poor advocate who has to cede 10% of his time for a single question that has no answer.


Breyer’s 52-line question in U.S. v. Texas–which lasted 3 minutes and 15 seconds–was not just the record for this term, but the longest one I have ever seen. (If anyone can find a longer Breyer question, please send it in). He went for 49 lines in Zubik v. Burwell. His previous record was in 44 lines in Hosannah-Tabor. In Bond, he spoke for 38 lines uninterrupted. 36 Lines in FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association. He went 32 lines in Medtronic v. Boston Scientific Corp. He had 35 lines in EPA v. EME Homer. In Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Hyatt, Justice Breyer spoke had 34 lines. Alas, only 27 lines inZivotofsky.