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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Alito, Scalia: What's in a name?

The U. S. Supreme Court yesterday heard oral arguments in a closely watched employment law case. The high court has been asked to decide whether a plaintiff suing for employment discrimination can introduce so called "me too" evidence. (Click here for more.) DC Dicta -- a blog run by our national sister publication, Lawyers USA -- actually found something funny to report on in a pretty serious case.

With the new attorney general and the solicitor general looking on, Deputy Solicitor General Gregory Garre argued the government's amicus position. Garre is a seasoned attorney who once clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, but that did not stop him from inadvertently misstating the name of one of the justices.

In another otherwise articulate response to question from Justice Samuel Alito, Garre mistakenly referred to Alito as "Justice Scalia." (Alito and Scalia sit three seats apart.) There are, of course, liberal blogs that might say we are splitting hairs differentiating between the two conservative justices. Nonetheless, the slip up -- which went otherwise uncommented on --reportedly drew chuckles from the press gallery.

I am just glad to know that even the most seasoned lawyers get nervous when they argue a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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