Justice Alito posed a predictable, but revealing question to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., in the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage oral argument: “In the Bob Jones case, the court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?” Verrilli replied that he would need to know more specifics, but allowed that “it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that.”

The solicitor general’s answer should have been and probably was practiced. The question was unlikely to have surprised Verrilli, especially with the kind of preparation undertaken by the highest appellate lawyer for the United States in such high stakes situations. Such preparations would include multiple moot courts, simulated arguments with various lawyers playing the roles of each of the members of the Supreme Court trying to ask as many questions as possible. As an appellate litigator and the coach of eight collegiate national moot court championship teams, I understand the goal of such preparation. You never want to hear a question from the bench that you have not thought about ahead of time. FULL REPORT