Today’s argument in McDonnell

This morning the Court heard arguments in McDonnell v. United States, one of the most anticipated cases of the Supreme Court’s Term and its last to be argued this spring.  I have posted on McDonnell previously (here) in anticipation of the argument.  The argument transcript is here, and it is well worth a read, particularly for those out there who are involved in, or have an interest in, white collar/public corruption prosecution and defense.

I will have more to say about this very important case in the coming days and weeks.  SCOTUSBlog’s argument recap is here.  It is written by Mark Walsh, who notes several fun facts from the courtroom today.

First, Governor McDonnell was actually in the courtroom today.  How many criminal defendants actually attend the Supreme Court oral argument in their case?

Second, Solicitor General Verrilli introduced his wife today for admission to the Bar of the Court.  It is customary when being admitted to the Supreme Court Bar that the person moving your admission assures the Court that you possess the necessary qualifications.  Walsh notes the laughter in the courtroom as Verrilli gives those assurances about his wife.

Finally, this was the 100th oral argument for Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben (with whom I had the privilege of interacting a couple of times on appellate issues while I was at Justice).  Walsh notes that Dreeben’s first argument before the Court was in 1989 in United States v. Halper.  His opposing counsel in that case: John Roberts.

UPDATE:  SCOTUSBlog has collected a variety of news accounts concerning the McDonnell argument (here) and has a new argument recap up by Lyle Denniston (here).  There seems to be a consensus emerging that McDonnell has a real shot at a new trial, at the very least.


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