Experience Arguing before the US Supreme Court
Date: Dec 22, 2022 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to argue before the Supreme Court of the United States?
Few New Jersey attorneys have presented an oral argument before the United States Supreme Court. For those who have, it is an awe-inspiring experience filled with pomp, circumstance, and protocol, mixed in with a little humor, and all wrapped up in the terror and wonder of standing before the altar of the appellate gods.
Join us for a unique presentation as Lisa Sarnoff Gochman, who briefed and argued the landmark sentencing case of Apprendi v. New Jersey, offers a “behind the scenes” perspective of United States Supreme Court litigation. This lively seminar traces the arc of a criminal matter from the Cumberland County trial court, through the New Jersey appellate courts, and all the up way to the United States Supreme Court. The case began in Vineland, New Jersey, where white supremacist Charles C. Apprendi, Jr., repeatedly fired his rifle into the home of the only African-American family in his neighborhood, and culminated in Washington, D.C., as Lisa Gochman defended the constitutionality of New Jersey’s Hate Crime Statute against an onslaught of questions by the nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court.
In his 2019 autobiography, “The Making of a Justice, Reflections on My First 94 Years,” Justice John Paul Stevens described the Apprendi v. New Jersey decision as “what may well be the most significant majority opinion I authored as a justice.” Apprendi set off a revolution in criminal sentencing law in state and federal courts across the country and the “Apprendi Doctrine” is still taught in law schools today.
Lisa’s story is now the subject of her new book, “At the Altar of the Appellate Gods.” Linda Greenhouse, Pulitzer prize-winning Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, writes that At the Altar of the Appellate Gods offers a “rare glimpse of life at the court—not on the bench but in front of it—that even experienced court-watchers will find illuminating.” Legendary Supreme Court reporter Tony Mauro says, “Oyez, oyez, read this book!”
The lessons learned from navigating New Jersey’s appellate courts and the experience of preparing to appear in the highest court in the land will inspire every attorney to find success in his or her own practice