Probably because I woke him up; I am so sorry, love. I feel awful about that.
So, I looked it up. You may not think prisoner's access to legal research is that important, but one of the basic tenets of our system of justice is that everyone get access to the help they need. Whether the petitioners were receiving adequate assistance was the question.
I remember so much about the day, but the arguments are only a vague memory - though I do remember thinking the lawyer for the ADOC wasn't really gaining any points with the Justices. Bob pointed out to me that the Justices tend to ask questions that lead the lawyers in the direction they want to go, but the ADOC guy was oblivious, which didn't go over well.
It's oddly unsatisfying to watch, this process; they each get 15 minutes to argue their side, and no decision is made for months (the previous court had found that aid was inadequate; the SCOTUS reversed that decision - read the summary). The courtroom is like a theatre, the impression aided by the stage-like feel of the Justices' seating arrangements. No cameras are allowed, but I brought my sketchbook (though I have no memory of sketching anything - I should go back through my sketch books and see if I can find any evidence).
It's fun, though; and for a little while, I could name every Justice on the Court. Kennedy used to be one of the ones I liked, but his insulting and misogynistic write-up of the decision on partial-birth abortion (I'm not talking about the outcome, but his insulting implication that women were too dumb to actually know what they were doing, and needed "counsellng") kind of turned me off, and Ginsburg is my heroine (her dissenting opinion was razor-sharp). Souter is the mysterious one, Scalia and Thomas were Rhenquist's lap-dogs, and Rhenquist was the crazy one who tried to redesign the SCOTUS Chief Justice robes to look more "imposing" (if you can call massive armbands of gold imposing. I also bet there's an early draft of his designs that includes gold braid and massive epaulets). Then there's Stevens, Breyer (the one I can never remember), and my other heroine, O'Connor. That was in '95.
Now, it's this lot. I don't think Scalia's ever recovered from not being chosen to succeed Rhenquist as Chief Justice. I bet he'd have approved the epaulets. Really big ones. Awesome:
(I love MSPaint.)
I also remember on that day the huge number of Cleveland Browns fans protesting the fact that their team was being moved to Baltimore, and going to become the Ravens. Lots of signs, lots of orange and brown (icky colours!), and lots of outrage.
You crazy Americans and your mixed-up priorities - I saw more protestors that day than I've seen over major US issues.
Not that my country's any better, mind you.
So, that's the SCOTUS argument I saw in person - I'd still have to say one of the (several) SCOTUS decisions that I deeply disagree with is Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co (this being the real criteria of the Sarah Palin question - she was asked which SCOTUS decisions she disagreed with - and Roe v. Wade was the only one she could come up with. I think in view of the fact that she's female, she'd be interested in equal pay for all women, but since she's VP to McCain, who supported the decision, saying it would be "bad for businesses" to have given Ms. Ledbetter the pay she deserved, maybe she's pretending she doesn't know about that one).