In an extremely rare move, the Supreme Court has postponed the first oral argument scheduled for its new term today, South Carolina v. North Carolina. An announcement from the Court came Sunday night. The official reason given was that "family illness" has left Eric Miller, assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, unable to argue in the case.
In making the decision, the Court was said by a source close to the situation to be aware not only of Miller's family situation, but also that the mother of another lawyer arguing in the case died late last week. Karen Bartolomucci, the mother of H. Christopher Bartolomucci of Hogan & Hartson, died last Thursday in Leesburg, Virginia.
The case is an important dispute over which parties are entitled to intervene in so-called "original jurisdiction" cases -- disputes between states where the Supreme Court is the court of first, not last resort. Miller was to argue on the side of South Carolina, which is represented by David Frederick of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. Bartolomucci represents the parties seeking to intervene in the dispute over water from the Catawba River, while North Carolina is represented by its solicitor general, Christopher Browning Jr.
The other two cases set for argument today have been moved up to start earlier because of the postponement.