New Talent for October Oral Arguments

The Supreme Court’s 2013 October Term begins in a few weeks, and while the hearing list has not yet been released, the arguments are shaping up to be interesting.

– Erin Murphy, my immensely talented co-clerk and “protege of former Solicitor General Paul Clement” will be arguing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, an interesting challenge to the laws limiting the total amount of money one can contribute to various candidates and committees across all races, even if one complies with the smaller limits on the amounts one can give to each individual candidate or committee.

It’s unusual, but not unprecedented, for an attorney to get a Supreme Court argument so early; I believe Murphy will be the third Supreme Court clerk from my year (OT 2008) to argue before the Court. I also believe that she will be the second law clerk for Chief Justice Roberts to argue before the Court, and the first to argue from private practice. (Ann O’Connell, whose clerkship was split between Chief Justices Rehnquist and Roberts, works in the Solicitor General’s office and has argued six cases before the Court. Roman Martinez, another Roberts clerk, will be joining the Solicitor General’s office this year, but I doubt his first argument will be before October 8th.)

– Meanwhile, the Court has received a motion from Stephen Sachs to participate in oral argument (on behalf of neither side) in Atlantic Marine v. District Court (whose unusually excellent amicus brief I discussed here). Such motions are very very rarely granted (except when it is the government who wants to be the amicus), but the Court has not yet ruled on the motion, so one can’t be sure.