C-SPAN has posted audio of the hearing on the Flynn petition for mandamus in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals here. As far as I can tell, they haven’t made it embeddable, but it is a public service to have it available in this form. It is also posted here on YouTube.
The argument is worth hearing out to listen in to a master appellate advocate — Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall — at work. Wall argued on behalf of the United States (i.e., the government). He was the best lawyer in the courtroom and I thought he had the better of the argument. Based on the oral argument, however, I would guess that the panel’s ruling will go against Flynn and the government.
I take it from the involvement of the Office of Solicitor General that the government will seek review in the Supreme Court in that event. As the site of the office states up front: “The task of the Office of the Solicitor General is to supervise and conduct government litigation in the United States Supreme Court.” It is time for adult supervision from the judicial branch. Whether the Supreme Court would provide it is another question.
Representing Judge Sullivan, attorney Beth Wilkinson argued without comment from the panel of judges: “There’s no reason at this point to fear that the district court is going to deny the government’s motion to dismiss.” You have got to be kidding me. This doesn’t pass the straight-face test, but there you have it.
UPDATE: My friend Howard Root writes to add another point that I should have made regarding Judge Wilkins, who in my view disgraced himself in this hearing. Howard writes: “I just lost it when Wilkins stretched to use a race hypothetical this morning in the Flynn mandamus hearing. It was so tortured for him to get there that he obviously spent considerable time coming up with the question and wanted to make it about race.” What sense did that make? For the likes of Judge Wilkins, it’s all about race all the time.