Because of widespread interest in yesterday’s Guantanamo case, the Supreme Court released the audio of the oral argument. Since Justice Anthony Kennedy is considered to be the deciding vote in what will be a 5-4 decision, I thought the most interesting and perhaps pivotal moment came at the very end of the oral argument. If you have any interest in this debate at all, click on the audio link above and then skip to the good part at the 1 hour, 21 minute mark and just listen to the final three minutes.
Justice Kennedy asks a question and attorney Seth Waxman begins his response, explaining the “Kafkaesque” procedures that are supposed to be a “substitute” for the writ of habeas corpus. But then Waxman’s alloted time expires! Had the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist been presiding, he would have immediately pounded his gavel and thanked the attorneys–even if Waxman had been in mid-sentence. Very strict about the clock, among other things. Fortunately, Chief Justice John Roberts was presiding–because he allowed Waxman an extra minute to complete his powerful closing argument in response to Justice Kennedy’s question.