That’s especially true considering that she won her case. On Wednesday, in a 7-to-2 ruling, the Supreme Court found in favor of Harrison’s client, asylum seeker Jean Marc Nken of Cameroon. At issue in the case was the standard that courts should apply in granting requests to stay deportation orders. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had applied a very stringent standard in rejecting Nken’s request, but Chief Justice John Roberts, in the high court’s majority opinion, wrote that courts should be less strict. “The whole idea is to hold the matter under review in abeyance because the appellate court lacks sufficient time to decide the merits,” Roberts wrote.
Harrison told us she was surprised by the overall vote, but not that she won. “I really thought we were right about this statute,” she said.
Back in January we wrote about Harrison’s preparation for her January Supreme Court argument, which was her first before any court. We weren’t on hand for it, but Harrison told us she faced off against then-acting solicitor general Edwin Kneedler, who has argued more than 100 cases at the Supreme Court. “He was great–very nice,” she said.
She also told us that the argument never seemed “political, argumentative, or adversarial.” Instead, she said, it felt more like a discussion about an interesting issue. Harrison said she’ll continue to represent Nken in his pursuit for asylum. “I spoke with him today,” said Harison. “He said he was happy, but he realizes…this may not even be close to the end of the road.”
And how will she celebrate? Harrison told us she had plans to get a drink with a friend who happens to have clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. They’ll toast to his dissent, she joked.