U.S. Supreme Court
Floyd Abrams and Ted Olson Squabble Over Oral Argument in FEC Case
Posted Aug 14, 2009 2:40 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
As observers eagerly await a U.S. Supreme Court reargument next month in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, big-name lawyers are battling over who gets to make part of the oral presentation.
Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson represents Citizens United. But, contending in a motion that Olson's brief is "sparse and tentative at best" on one campaign-financing issue, famed First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams of Cahill Gordon & Reindel is seeking either to supplement Olson's argument on that point or share his time, reports the Blog of Legal Times. It credits the Election Law Blog for initially flagging the docket entry.
Olson, who now practices at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, opposes Abrams' motion in a responding filing and says that McConnell's position will be "adequately represented" by his client.
But Abrams has another argument, the BLT recounts: Solicitor General Elena Kagan, he points out, is supporting a request by McConnell's opponents to allow former Solicitor General Seth Waxman of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr to argue in opposition in the current case.
While Kagan may perceive "a tactical benefit in doing so," Olson fires back, her agreement to allow Waxman to argue doesn't "mandate the equally duplicative, unnecessary, and dilutive diminution of Citizen's United's argument."
Abrams represents Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who sued the FEC in another case six years ago that is now at issue again in the current supreme court case.