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Arguing two cases before the Supreme Court in a career is remarkable enough. But twice in a week, and two days apart? That’s what Sidley Austin’s Carter Phillips had on his calendar last week — a new experience for the high court veteran (arguments 55 and 56). Phillips shrugged off the intense week: “I never have the luxury of 40 or 60 hours of uninterrupted time to prepare anyway.” And unlike most Supreme Court advocates, Phillips does not do moot courts. His first case, on Nov. 5, CSX Transportation v. Georgia State Board of Equalization, was almost a gimme. As documented in Georgetown law professor Richard Lazarus’ recent study of the Supreme Court elite, Phillips has a near-perfect win record representing railroads. The second case, Hall Street Associates v. Mattel, on Nov. 7, was a tougher match, as he was facing off with Morrison Foerster’s Supreme Court virtuosa Beth Brinkmann. According to Phillips, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. was especially rough on him: “They didn’t cut me any slack at all,” he said.
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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