Introducing a New ISCOTUS Series: Drama in the Court

By Professor Christopher Schmidt

In my new role as Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States, I am happy to introduce "Drama in the Court," a new series on ISCOTUSnow. "Drama in the Court" will offer a weekly post in which I revisit interesting moments at oral argument in the Supreme Court. I will look at recently argued cases, older cases that are relevant to issues currently before the Court, as well as some landmark cases from the Oyez archives.

My goal is to search out exchanges between the Justices and lawyers that are particularly lively, entertaining, humorous, tense, occasionally embarrassing, and always, hopefully, edifying. My posts will place these dramatic moments in context, explaining the basic issues before the Court and the significance of the particular exchange. Each post will include audio clips from Oyez, so readers can hear for themselves these dramatic moments in the Court.

I hope this series will be of interest to all Court watchers out there, but I particularly hope that it will be of use to educators. I know that teachers at all levels have come to appreciate Oyez’s incredible value as a teaching resource. But I also know that it can be difficult to find the time to listen to an entire oral argument, or to locate just the right clips to present in class, or to get a grasp of exactly what is going on in the Court. "Drama in the Court" is intended to help with that. I choose clips both for their entertainment value and for the way they highlight, in a particularly accessible way, important legal disputes.

To get an idea of what to expect, you can visit some of my recent posts.

My two most recent posts focus on recently argued cases. In Constitutional First Principles on Display, I look at NLRB v. Noel Canning. In Hypotheticals Gone Wild, I look at Navarette v. California. And in Pork Chops and Privacy, I look at Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 case that has taken on new relevance with the recent legal challenges to the NSA's wiretapping program.

I am always looking for new cases to profile, so please let me know if you have any suggestions. You can reach me at