Last week, Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann spoke in Dallas about (1) how the court decides whether to grant or deny review; (2) common mistakes seen in appellate petitions and briefs; and (3) oral argument at the court. Because Justice Lehrmann had so many great insights, I am dedicating a blog post to each of these three topics. Here is the THIRD of the three blog posts:
Justice Lehrmann suggested that, at a supreme court oral argument, advocates should not address the facts of the case at all (except when necessary to respond to a justice’s question). If the supreme court selects a case for oral argument, the justices have already spent months familiarizing themselves with the case. The justices have read the petition for review and response and have decided that the case merits further study. The justices have requested and read full briefs on the merits from both sides. The justices have discussed the case at multiple court conferences. After having spent months preparing to hear an oral argument, the justices do not appreciate being addressed as if they had done little or no preparation.