Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Argument By Ambush

Lots of people get nervous about public speaking. But generally, most people who do it know who is going to be in their audience before they step up to the lectern. OK, you might not have a roster memorized, but you have a general idea as to whether they are colleagues, underlings, superiors, or what have you. When I go to the Fourth Circuit for oral argument, I don't have the luxury. As Howard Bashman discusses in this column, the Fourth is one of the few circuits that keeps the identity of the three-judge panel assigned to a particular case until the morning of oral argument. I'm not sure that I buy into the arguments he sets out for why that policy exists, but I do know one thing - it gives me the willies the night before!

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