Who brings a dead argument back to life?
On occasion, the parties to a U.S. Supreme Court case will abandon their own positions, which results in a so-called "Orphan Position." In such a situation, the U.S. Supreme Court appoints an attorney to argue on behalf of the position. To date, 42 different attorneys have been selected over the years to make such arguments. However, only one has been an in-house counsel: Adam Ciongoli, The New York Times reports.
Ciongoli is a former clerk for Justice Samuel A. Alito and the general counsel of Willis Group Holdings.
Earlier this month, Ciongoli argued to defend an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sentencing decision. Ciongoli said being asked to make the argument was "an incredible honor and not something you say no to." Ciongoli's position was an orphan position originally held by the government, but it had later abandoned it. The case involved a ruling by the 8th Circuit that efforts by a defendant to rehabilitate himself after his initial sentence (later reversed on appeal) do not count at re-sentencing.