Interpreting oral arguments is always a lot like reading tea leaves, and I’m not even an expert for doing this kind of tea leaf readings.  I’d say it’s going to be close.  I think we’ll win on the individual rights argument, but I wouldn’t care to venture the standard that will be applied.  The most hostile to our position would appear to be Bryer, Souter, and Stevens.  Not sure about Ginsburg.  Kennedy I think is mostly on board with our arguments, except I have no idea what standard he would choose to apply.

As for Gura’s performance, I thought he did OK given that the justices focused almost exclusively on matters not directly related to the questions being bought before the court, like machine gun bans, and bans on firearms on college campuses.   It was some tough questioning, but I admit to not paying much attention to oral arguments normally, so it might not have been inordinarily difficult.

Your guess on how this turns out is as good as mine.

12 thoughts on “Conclusions”

  1. The best presenter was the Solicitor General – IMHO, Gura didn’t do all that great (but did better than Dellinger).

    Not that it mattered – the justices seemed to be mostly made up n their minds already.

  2. I wasn’t terribly impressed with anyone but the Justices. Quite frankly, as a non-lawyer I would have been better prepared for many of the questions. I may have gotten them wrong from a legal standpoint, but I’d have had a better answer, and been better prepared. Most of the questions came almost directly from either the court below, or from the amici briefings. Simply reading those would have provided the requisite background to have improved the performance in this case.

  3. Jared,

    I suspect had you been standing there, nerves would have taken over and as prepared as you may have been, on your first time up you’d have a tough time doing as well as Gura. Which is probably my biggest gripe. He seemed too nervous. And as I told Uncle on the phone, after answering a question, he would ramble on with additional irrelevant details rather than jumping right back to where he left off on his original oral presentation.

    Not that I could do any better or anything. and Kudos to him for getting it up there.

  4. I’d like to know if anyone who had previously said they weren’t going to vote this fall because McCain is the nominee will reconsider that decision after listening to these arguments and justices. This case should make it clear that the kind of justices that Hillary/Obama will appoint (think more Ginsbergs) are a threat to our freedom, while the justices who’s nomination McCain voted to approve (Roberts, Alito) are important votes on the issues.

  5. Actually, Ginsberg asked tough questions, but I didn’t think they were really hostile to our position. I wouldn’t write her off.

  6. I think the Justices were trying to get a feel for where Gura and whatshisface were coming from. After reading the petitioners and respondants brief you get the meat and potatoes of the arguements, but it is still quite sterile. Maybe that’s why they asked the weird questions.

    It sounded like they were specifically trying to keep them on their toes with the questions which were very back and forth, almost off topic at times, like asking about machine guns and such.

  7. Sebastian, you’re right, Ginsberg is a poor example to use for this case, I should have used Breyer as my example of a justice that we don’t want appointed to any federal judgeship.

  8. Countertop,

    Perhaps I’ve come off too harsh. I’m definitely no lawyer, and I would be very nervous presenting this to Supreme Court. Huge kudos for the man standing up like that and defending the rights of each of us here. If he wins, which I believe he will, we will all benefit along with future generations. He’s taken on a great burden, and I am thankful for that.

    I’m going more for constructive criticism. Our postion is so strong that it almost seems to require a very strong presentation. My take on the situation could be wrong, but he seemed a little surprised by the line of questioning. I’m only trying to point out that these things, well, perhaps if any of us are in a similar situation, arguing for rights that we ought not need to argue for, that we should come prepared with overwhelming force as far as argumentation and refutation go.

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