The Volokh Conspiracy

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SCOTUS Denies SG's Motion for Leave to Participate in Oral Argument

There have only been 9 such denials in the last two decades.


On March 29, 2021, the Acting Solicitor General requested leave to participate in oral argument in City of San Antonio v. This case concerns the District Court's power to tax appellate costs. The Acting SG wrote that the "United States would be able to offer the Court a distinct perspective on the litigation-cost issues implicated by this case." And the Petitioner consented to give the government "ten minutes of its time."

Yesterday, the Court denied that request. Of course, there is no explanation.  Based on my quick research, the Court has denied the SG's request for divided arguments 9 times in the past two decades:

  1. City of San Antonio v. (2021)
  2. Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer/Montana Eighth Judicial District Court (2020)
  3. Rehberg v. Paulk (2011)
  4. Locke v. Karass (2008)
  5. Martin v. Franklin Capital Corporation (2005)
  6. Exxon Mobile Corporation v. Allapattah (2005) / Del Rosario Ortega v. Star-Kist Foods (2005)
  7. Ford Motor Co. v. McCauley (2002)
  8. Stenberg v. Carhart (2000)
  9. Grupo Mexicano de Desarrolo v. Alliance Bond Fund (1999)

What do these case have in common? Several of them involve jurisdictional issues, such as subject matter jurisdiction (#6, #7), personal jurisdiction (#2), and equitable jurisdiction (#9). The others involve fairly mundane issues. Stenberg, an abortion case, is the obvious outlier.