According to a new study, criminal defendants don’t get good representation in SCOTUS. When a lawyer from the Solicitor General’s office appears in SCOTUS, he has on average argued there 25 times before. Criminal defense lawyers in SCOTUS have on average 5.3 prior arguments. An exception is Stanford Law Professor Jeff Fisher. According to Professor Andrew Crespo, author of the study, “Professor Fisher is the expert Supreme Court criminal defense bar — if only one person a bar could make.”
The New York Times reports that when asked why so few “experts” represent criminal defendants in SCOTUS, Justice Sotomayor has said “the main factor is vanity: Many criminal defense lawyers are too reluctant to cede the glamour of Supreme Court arguments to specialists.” Click here for the Times article, which includes a link to the study.