The Supreme Court has set aside 80 minutes for arguments in today’s historic dispute over whether former President Donald Trump disqualified himself from the ballot for his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
In reality, the debate will carry on for much longer.
Trump’s attorney, Jonathan Mitchell, is expected to kick off the arguments a little after 10 a.m. ET with a brief opening statement and will then field a barrage of questions from the bench. Jason Murray, representing the Colorado voters who challenged Trump, will present next. Finally, Shannon Stevenson, Colorado’s top appellate attorney, will speak on behalf of Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
Each attorney will first take questions from the justices in something of a free-for-all format. Then, Chief Justice John Roberts will permit each justice to ask a few questions in order of seniority.
At the end of the arguments, Mitchell will return to the well of the courtroom for a short rebuttal.
Arguing before the Supreme Court involves an enormous amount of preparation, from nailing the intricacies of an argument to anticipating hypothetical questions from justices.
Mitchell arranged two moot courts to practice before the justices took their seats. Murray had planned four. Such sessions are designed to expose the weaknesses in a case, devise solutions and refine its strong points. The tougher the moot – the adage goes – the smoother the actual argument.
Read more about how the arguments are expected to unfold.