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Pleasantries in the Chief Justice’s absence

Yesterday was an unusual day at the U.S. Supreme Court. During yesterday’s oral arguments in the case Credit Suisse Securities v. Simmonds, Chief Justice John G. Roberts did not participate. That left Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court’s most senior associate, in charge of things.

Jeffrey B. Wall, assistant to the solicitor general, had the unusual task of arguing as amicus in support of neither party – instead offering an alternative approach to the Court in the securities case. At the end of Wall’s argument, he also offered an atypical coda on the government’s behalf:

“We’ve occupied the reasonable middle ground. Hope you like it.”

As the audience and the justices laughed, Scalia replied: “Thank you, Mr. Wall. That’s a nice note on which to end.”

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