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By Jacqueline Bell
By the time a lawyer steps to the lectern and utters the words “May it please the court” at the start of oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, the battle is often largely over, at least for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
It’s unusual for an oral argument to completely alter her thinking, Justice Ginsburg told Law360 during a recent conversation in her chambers. After an extensive review of the briefs, her mind at that point is “not closed, but certainly not totally open.”
“We read all of these briefs, or at least all of the parties’ briefs, we’ve read the decisions of the court of first instance and the appeals court,” Justice Ginsburg said, turning in her armchair to point to the filings, carefully organized for each case. “So when you come to the oral argument, you’re definitely leaning one way or another.”
Law360 sat down with Justice Ginsburg in late May, just before she accepted Book of the Year honors for her recent collection “My Own Words” at the Burton Awards, an annual program that honors excellence in the legal profession. The justice discussed confirmation hearings, gender diversity and the role of collegiality, and shared her perspective on the value of oral arguments.
Law360 subscribers can read the full interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (part 2).
Read the 1st installment of Law360's exclusive interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
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