So instead of waiting several months and trudging down to the National Archives to get your Supreme Court audio fix , you can hear many of the most interesting cases, including the Guantanamo detainees' lawsuit or the Dick Cheney energy task-force beef, at such websites as pbs.org and c-span.org. But not, curiously, on the official Supreme Court website.
What have I learned? That chief justice William Rehnquist waxes orotund, Antonin Scalia is argumentative and showoffy, and Stephen Breyer sounds a lot like the Cambridge snob I imagine him to be. You can see pictures of Breyer's pretentious library, which practically screams 'Look, I own a first edition of Dr. Johnson's dictionary!' by clicking 'Tour' on the unofficial Supreme Court website www.oyez.org.
My hero, David Souter -- yes, I still carry a letter he once wrote me around in my briefcase -- sounds as clear as the waters of Lake Horace, just west of his beloved Weare, N.H.
What else? Lawyers talk for about 60 seconds until the first justice, usually Rehnquist, starts poking at their arguments. I learned there is one proper way to answer a justice's query: 'That is correct, your honor, but . . .' Furthermore, it's obvious I don't have the intellectual candlepower to be a mediocre lawyer, much less argue before the Supremes.'