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Oral Arguments Before the Supreme CourtAn Empirical Approach$
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Lawrence Wrightsman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368628.001.0001

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Justices’ Questions and Statements

Justices’ Questions and Statements

(p.67) 4 Justices’ Questions and Statements
Oral Arguments Before the Supreme Court

Lawrence S. Wrightsman

Oxford University Press

Justices have complete power over the content of the oral argument. They can—and do—interrupt advocates only a few words into advocates’ opening statements. They can—and do—ask questions ranging from the trivial (and even irrelevant) to the wildly hypothetical. Their questions and comments may be hostile, sympathetic, or neither. This chapter presents a classification, with examples from recent oral arguments, of eight motivations underlying the questions asked by justices.

Keywords:   classification of questions, hypothetical questions, analogies, Sarcasm, ridicule, opening statements

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