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We’re in the home stretch! The final oral argument cycle of the current term begins today, and it is truly an interesting mix of cases and advocates.

It begins today with a marquee dispute over profanity (Iancu v. Brunetti) and ends with a lower-profile case over bankruptcy on April 24. (Taggart v. Lorenzen.)

Some notable data points about the upcoming cases and the lawyers arguing:

Only six of the 34 lawyers arguing in April are women. And of those six, only two are in private practice: Hogan Lovells partner Colleen Roh Sinzdak and Mayer Brown’s Nicole Saharsky, co-head of the firm's Supreme Court and appellate practice. In a 2017 tweet, Sinzdak wrote, “It is tough to be a big law lady lawyer, but working in the @HoganLovells appellate group makes it much, much easier.”

Saharsky (at left), for her part, will be the last lawyer to argue this term on April 24 in the bankruptcy case Taggart v. Lorenzen. It is her first Supreme Court argument since her time at the solicitor general’s office and then at Gibson, Dunn &

Crutcher before joining Mayer Brown last November. It will also be her 30th career high court argument—more arguments there than any other female in the last decade.

Dallas solo practitioner Daniel Geyser will be arguing twice this cycle: today in Emulex v. Varjabedian, a securities fraud case, and on April 24 in Taggart v. Lorenzen, the bankruptcy case. They’ll be his third and fourth argument this term, and his seventh and eighth, career-wise.

What’s it like for a solo to prepare for two Supreme Court arguments in the space of 10 days? Geyser’s reply: “While I do have a solo practice, I wouldn’t say I’m doing this alone. For each case, I’ve been lucky to team up with terrific co-counsel, and my colleagues in the SCOTUS bar are always amazingly generous in devoting their time to moots, etc. So in a real sense, each case has its own elite ad hoc team.”

By our count, four former U.S. solicitors general will be arguing, along with the current one, Noel Francisco: Gregory Garre of Latham & Watkins in Emulex v. Varjabedian, the securities case; Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis in Parker Drilling Management Services v. Newton, on overtime rules for drilling rigs; Neal Katyal (acting) of Hogan Lovells, in McDonough v. Smith, a test of the statute of limitations in civil rights claims; and Barbara Underwood (acting) now solicitor general of New York state, in Department of Commerce v. New York, the contentious case of the proposed citizenship question for the 2020 Census.

On April 23, Francisco will argue before Underwood in the census case, which has been allotted 80 minutes for argument, unlike the usual 60. The court also has granted argument time to U.S. House general counsel Douglas Letter, who will make his second-ever Supreme Court argument, as we reported Friday.


Reprinted with permission from the April 15, 2019 edition of Supreme Court Brief © 2019 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited