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A Supreme Court First: Justices Call on Attorney, Again

March 1, 2017, 10:17 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court did something Feb. 27 that it’s never done in its more than 225-year history.

The justices invited Adam K. Mortara of Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, Chicago, “to brief and argue, as amicus curiae, in support of the judgment below,” in a case about how federal courts should analyze habeas claims challenging state convictions, Wilson v. Sellers, 2017 BL 58994, U.S., No. 16-6855, granted 2/27/17.

The appointment isn’t in and of itself particularly noteworthy. The Supreme Court extends such “invitations” about once per term.

The action was significant because the justices ...