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May it Please… Justice Alito


— February 18, 2006

It’s a rare thing when lawyers head into an argument before the U.S. Supreme Court knowing exactly which of the justices they’ll need to win over in order to emerge victorious. But in all likelihood, that situation is exactly what awaits the lawyers who will step to the podium during the re-argument of Garcetti v. Ceballos, which was ordered today by the court, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Jess Bravin. The case involves whether former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, currently a defendant in a whistleblower suit, is immune from legal action.

Why was the re-argument ordered? Bravin explains: “When a justice retires after an argument is heard but before a decision is issued, her vote no longer counts. If that leaves an even split, typically the court will have the case reargued so the new justice can consider the issue.”

That’s apparently exactly what happened here. Justice O’Connor heard the case when it was first argued back in October, but she was replaced by Justice Alito before the court reached a decision. The remaining eight justices are presumably deadlocked, putting Alito in the spotlight.

Details here from the Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog.


It’s a rare thing when lawyers head into an argument before the U.S. Supreme Court knowing exactly which of the justices they’ll need to win over in order to emerge victorious. But in all likelihood, that situation is exactly what awaits the lawyers who will step to the podium during the re-argument of Garcetti v. Ceballos, which was ordered today by the court, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Jess Bravin. The case involves whether former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, currently a defendant in a whistleblower suit, is immune from legal action.

Why was the re-argument ordered? Bravin explains: “When a justice retires after an argument is heard but before a decision is issued, her vote no longer counts. If that leaves an even split, typically the court will have the case reargued so the new justice can consider the issue.”

That’s apparently exactly what happened here. Justice O’Connor heard the case when it was first argued back in October, but she was replaced by Justice Alito before the court reached a decision. The remaining eight justices are presumably deadlocked, putting Alito in the spotlight.

Details here from the Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog.

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