Justice William Bedsworth’s recent column, “Oral Argument: Better Than Oral Surgery,” packs a lot of meanings into the title’s last four words. (See The Recorder, 12/19/2022.) I suppose it might depend on viewpoint, you know, surgeon or patient, the condition in question, the complexity of the problem, and how direct the approach. I’m not speaking of dentistry here.
Getting counsel to answer questions can be like pulling teeth. I was reminded of that yesterday while looking for an oral argument. I landed on the prior case somewhere in the middle of the video. It took three tries to get counsel to directly answer the question. A few years ago, while waiting for my case to be called at the California Supreme Court, an attorney responded with “I’ll come to that one later, Your Honor, I’ve got to tell you this first,” causing an array of facial expressions along the dais. And onward, he sailed.