Oral Argument Marathon

On Monday, the Supreme Court will begin hearing 5 1/2 hours of oral arguments on the consolidated health care reform law cases.  As blog readers are likely aware, under the Rules of the Supreme Court, the Court normally grants no more than one hour for argument, although historically this was not always the case.

Early on, there was no time limit imposed on advocates, and arguments could continue for several days. On March 12, 1849, the Court adopted a rule limiting oral arguments to two hours per side. Since 1970 the half-hour per side limit has been the norm.

Some of the longest Supreme Court arguments include:

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) (5 Days)

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) (9 Days)

Brown v. Board of Education (I) (1952) (3 Days)

Brown v. Board of Education (II) (1955) (4 days)

Miranda v. Arizona (1966) (3 days)

United States v. Nixon (1974) (3 hours)

As noted in an earlier post, the Court will expedite access to transcripts and argument audio in next week’s cases.

To learn more about Supreme Court oral argument procedures and history see the Supreme Court Historical Society Website.  For more information on the healthcare cases, see Scotus Blog and Oyez.