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Kannon Shanmugam Discusses Oral Advocacy on “SCOTUStalk” Podcast

August 29, 2022

Litigation partner Kannon Shanmugam was featured on the August 29 episode of SCOTUSblog’s “SCOTUStalk” podcast, “SCOTUS Spotlight: Kannon Shanmugam on dealing with hostile questions.” In the episode, Kannon talks about the differences between arguing cases in the Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court; his very first Supreme Court argument; how he prepares for oral arguments; and how he deals with persistent questioning from justices that he knows are unlikely to support his position.

“I go into the argument with the hope that I can persuade all nine of the justices to vote in our favor, but with the expectation that I might be disappointed,” Kannon says. “I think it’s very important to go in with a mindset of respect and with the goal of trying to persuade.”

“Often what I try to do when I have a justice who seems to be hostile is basically to say to the rest of the court, ‘Look, I hear what this justice is saying, but notwithstanding these points, here’s why you should still vote for us,’” he adds. “There’s a real delicacy around that, particularly when a justice is coming in pretty hot with their questioning.”

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