The oral advocate is benefited when the judge makes it clear exactly what the sticking point is for her. Pay attention and respond, if you can. I've read many Supreme Court cases that turn on the very point that a key Justice pushed the losing lawyer around with at oral argument. It's an opportunity. Use it. Don't whine about it. Let the judge be judgmental and the lawyer be lawyerly.
Another lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, said: "She used her questioning to make a point... as opposed to really looking for an answer to a question she did not understand." Again, this is typical of Supreme Court argument. So she made her point, and she wasn't having any difficulty understanding something? That's a signal to the lawyer to make a point that tops hers. Make a better argument. Having a position and revealing it at oral argument — which occurs after the judge has studied all the arguments in the written briefs — happens all the time in the Supreme Court. It doesn't mean that the judge is close-minded. It means the judge is prepared and using the argument time efficiently. The lawyer needs to up his game.
Sheema Chaudhry also said : "She’s brilliant and she’s qualified, but I just feel that she can be very, how do you say, temperamental.” And Gerald Lefcourt said that, compared to the other judges on her court, Sotomayor is "more strident and much more vocal." Strident, temperamental... I hear gender in these words. I have no idea what Chaudhry and Lefcourt actually experienced, but this is the way people talk about strong women.
Judge Guido Calabresi, a former dean of Yale Law School who taught Ms. Sotomayor there and now sits with her on the Second Circuit, said complaints that she had been unduly caustic had no basis. For a time, Judge Calabresi said, he kept track of the questions posed by Judge Sotomayor and other members of the 12-member court. “Her behavior was identical,” he said.Frankly, I wouldn't mind if Sotomayor was an unusually caustic and argumentative judge. There's no reason why the female needs to be the one who's most deferential and polite. In fact, it's good for some women to equal or outdo men in the verbal jousting. Badgering lawyers, it's not just for Scalia anymore. Bring on Sonia to scare them from the liberal side.
“Some lawyers just don’t like to be questioned by a woman,” Judge Calabresi added. “It was sexist, plain and simple.”
(Really, does anybody care if lawyers are intimidated?)