28 November/December 2017
you make The New York Times crossword
puzzle, and you’re done.”
Goldstein is not yet done.
‘More mythology than real’
At an afternoon session of the Supreme
Court in April, he strode to the front of the
courtroom, shook hands with the opposing
counsel and took his seat.
Behind him, spectators whispered,
a low hum throughout the hallowed
marbled chamber. Goldstein appeared lost
in thought, the fingers on his left hand
absent-mindedly making circles around his
closely cropped beard, his mouth silently
forming words. Howe, who blogged about
Neil Gorsuch’s first day on the court
that morning, took a seat in the spectator
section to watch her husband’s argument.
She doesn’t write about his cases; Columbia
Law School professor Ronald Mann
covered the hearing for SCOTUSblog.
Goldstein was up against Paul Clement,
a former solicitor general who is considered
a leading contender for justice if there’s
another opening under President Donald
Trump. “One of the things I love about
what I do is that the people on the other
side that you’re dealing with are super
talented,” Goldstein said. “They push you.
You cannot sleep on any case. The other
side is going to make all the best arguments
that can be made, in the best way they can
be made. It really causes you to up your
To most tourists in the audience, the
issues in California Public Employees’
Retirement System v. ANZ Securities
probably seemed boring. The case centered
on the time limit for filing class-action
securities lawsuits. As Totenberg later
reported, it was one of three cases that day
that “involved technical and convoluted
points of law that, to say the least, are not
Goldstein represented the plaintiffs.
“I like the puzzle of it,” he said. “The
questions that get there don’t get there
unless there are two possible answers.
Working through the puzzle and coming
A buzzer sounded and the justices filed
in past red velvet curtains and took their
seats at the raised mahogany bench. Gold-
stein stood up, and all eyes turned to him.