WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - The postmortems on the
winners and losers of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011-12 term
have been served up and deconstructed. But how did the attorneys
The Supreme Court bar is a small one, and the same faces
tend to turn up term after term. Walter Dellinger of O'Melveny &
Myers, Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin, Andrew Pincus of Mayer
Brown and Gregory Garre of Latham & Watkins are among the usual
suspects, but only some of them were among the last term's five
most frequently seen advocates.
Calculating the win-loss record for those five is a bit
subjective, since cases often involve more than one question. On
the other hand, the healthcare series of cases was counted as a
single dispute. Our method: Credit the lawyer who brought the
challenge with a win if the lower court ruling was reversed, and
credit the lawyer defending the lower court ruling with the win
if the lower court ruling was upheld.
As it turned out, both the government and private lawyers
had mixed records. The federal government's army of lawyers went
10-12 for the term. Private-sector lawyers also won about as
often as they lost.
Here's how the five lawyers who appeared most often before
the high court during the 2011-2012 season fared.
Paul Clement, 46, Bancroft
Cases argued: 7
Term tally: 4-3
Justices' votes this term: 37 for, 25 against
Biggest Win:Christopher v. SmithKline.
Clement saved pharmaceutical companies billions with a decision
that representatives who visit doctors' offices aren't owed
Biggest Loss:The Affordable Care Act cases.
Clement represented states challenging President Barack Obama's
healthcare law; he successfully argued that Congress couldn't
pass the law under its Commerce Clause power, but the court
ultimately upheld most of the law as a tax.
In brief: Clement argued more cases before the Supreme Court
than any other lawyer this term, tying for the most wins. But he
has been called out for losing in landmark decisions such as
healthcare and immigration.
Donald Verrilli, 55, United States Solicitor General
Cases argued: 6
Term tally: 3-3
Justices' votes this term: 20 for, 31 against
Biggest Win:The Affordable Care Act cases.
Verrilli lost his primary argument that the Commerce Clause
protects the healthcare law's individual mandate, but his backup
plan worked: He convinced the court that the law was legitimate
as a tax.
Biggest Loss:United States v. Alvarez.
If Congress wants to ban lying about receiving military honors,
it will have to go back and start over. Verrilli failed in his
defense of the current law's wording, but the court's narrow
wording left the door open for another attempt.
In brief: While Verrilli's record was .500, he won the term's
highest-profile cases: The healthcare cases and the Arizona
Carter Phillips, 59, Sidley Austin LLP
Cases argued: 5
Term tally: 4-0-1
Justices' votes this term: 28 for, 16 against
Biggest Win: Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter. In a 5-4 decision,
the Supreme Court ruled that the government must pay support
costs to Native American tribes even when Congress places a
statutory cap on those appropriations.
Biggest Loss: Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern
California wasn't really a loss, but it was the only non-victory
Phillips had all term. The dispute over Medicaid cutbacks was
sent back to the lower courts, where parties will retool their
arguments under a new cause of action.
In brief: Phillips was the only lawyer with at least two
decisions to go undefeated in the term.
Gregory Garre, 47, Latham & Watkins LLP
Cases argued: 4
Term tally: 2-2
Justices' votes this term: 12 for, 22 against
Biggest Win:Maples v. Thomas. A mailroom mess-up at Sullivan &
Cromwell caused death row inmate Cory Maples to miss a filing
deadline, and thus his appeal. Garre persuaded the Supreme Court
to give Maples another chance.
Biggest Loss:PPL Montana v. Montana. What makes water
"navigable"? All nine justices disagreed with Garre, costing the
state of Montana $40 million in back lease payments in the land
In brief: Both of Garre's losses were unanimous decisions,
suggesting that Justice Antonin Scalia doesn't play favorites -
Garre clerked for Scalia when he was an appeals court judge.
Patricia Millett, 49, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Cases argued: 3
Term tally: 1-3
Justices' votes this term: 9 for, 18 against
Biggest Win:Filarsky v. Delia. If the government retains a
private lawyer, he gets the same protections from lawsuits that
other government officials have, the court ruled.
Biggest Loss: The court ruled against Millett by letting a
concerned citizen sue the government over a Native American
casino built on the government's watch. The federal government
shouldn't have let the casino be built, the citizen argued.
In brief: Millett has argued 31 cases before the Supreme Court,
more than any other woman in private practice today.
(Reporting by Drew Singer)
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