Ankur Mandhania on Justice Scalia’s Impact on Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Munger, Tolles & Olson attorney Ankur Mandhania co-wrote a “Supreme Court Watch” column for the Summer 2016 edition of San Francisco Attorney magazine about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s effect on the evolution of oral arguments in the High Court.

Mr. Mandhania’s article notes that Justice Scalia, who once stated that “things can be put in perspective during oral argument in a way that they can’t in a written brief,” did not subscribe to the traditional view that oral argument is largely immaterial to the court’s decision. During Justice Scalia’s tenure, advocates were questioned more aggressively during oral argument than they had been before Justice Scalia joined the court. 
Mr. Mandhania’s empirical analysis of oral arguments after Justice Scalia’s passing notes that despite the loss of one of the court’s most active questioners, the amount of colloquy during argument between the Justices and advocates appears unchanged. He concludes that “although the method of argument may be the same, the identities of the people asking the questions, and the type of questions they are asking, seem to be shifting dramatically.”
Based in San Francisco, Mr. Mandhania focuses his practice on complex litigation.