Case confusion

Everyone makes mistakes – even the Chief Justice of the United States.

This morning, as he does three times each day when the justices are at the bench, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. opened oral arguments for a case before the Court.

“We will now hear arguments in Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for DuPont Savings and Investment Plan,” Roberts said, and then turned to the attorney at the podium. “Mr. Furlow?”

Only the attorney at the podium wasn’t David Furlow, it was Joseph Maziarz, who was there to argue for he petitioner in Arizona v. Gant, the scheduled case. Furlow was scheduled to argue Kennedy later in the afternoon.

“That’s the wrong case, You Honor,” Maziarz said to Roberts quietly.

“I’m sorry, we won’t!” Roberts said when he realized his mistake. A few people in the courtroom chucked, and Roberts added: “It’s still early in the term.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy asked Maziarz: “Do you have any views on that case?” drawing more laughs.

“None whatsoever, Your Honor,” Maziarz said.

Coverage note: In addition to tidbits about the Court’s oral argument sessions posted here on DC Dicta, you can always find more coverage of the cases being heard by the Court here on Lawyers USA‘s website.


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