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Supreme Court Stalemate Resolved

The case of Carcieri v. Kempthorne, which involves a dispute between the Narrangansett Tribe and the state over land in the town of Charlestown, R.I., is scheduled for argument before the Supreme Court in three days.  Yet until earlier today, the question of which lawyer would argue for the petitioners remained the subject of dispute.  [Source: SCOTUS Blog].  The state of Rhode Island wanted former solicitor general Theodore Olson to handle the case, while the town wanted to rely on its attorney, Joseph Larisa, who'd shepherded the case through the lower court.   The Court refused to grant time to both attorneys, leaving them no choice but to resolve the impasse amongst themselves.  This morning, reports the Blog of the Legal Times, the Court upped the ante, with court clerk William Suter calling Olsen and Larisa and ordering them to choose one lawyer within an hour or forfeit argument time entirely.  Ultimately, Larisa capitulated; Olson will argue, with Larisa sitting at the counsel table.

Olson has argued 49 cases before the Supreme Court, while this would have been Larisa's first time. Personally, I think that Olson should have stepped aside and given Larissa a chance at the podium.  If Olson's clients objected, Olson could have assured them that he'd work to prep Larisa for big day.  Ultimately, this story, which has gotten lots of coverage in the blogosphere as an example of lawyers behaving like children, could have been about sportsmanship and collegiality. 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on October 31, 2008 at 03:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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