Much like the NFL, the military appellate shops seem to have achieved parity. For the last four years, we’ve recognized the counsel who argued the most cases at CAAF by naming them the winners of the “Silver CAAF Tongue Award.” (Unlike the Golden CAAF, which results in the bestowal of an actual trophy to the winner, there is no physical manifestation of the Silver CAAF Tongue Award. But it is, of course, a life changing honor.)
In most years past, there have been one or two runaway winners each term, usually from appellate government shops, which seemed more likely to feed CAAF arguments to particular counsel. This year, however, 8 counsel — four appellate government counsel and four appellate defense cuonsel — tied for the lead with three arguments apiece. Only three non-DOD employed civilian counsel appeared as counsel for a party at CAAF. Bill Cassara led that herd with two.
CAAF heard 47 oral arguments last term and issued 46 opinions of the court. (Three of the oral arguments didn’t result in an opinion of the court but were instead disposed of in a summary fashion. In two of the cases that produced an opinion of the court, there was no oral argument.) Of the 47 arguments, 18 were in Air Force cases, 15 were in Army cases, 13 were in Navy or Marine Corps cases, and one was a Coast Guard case.
Three Air Force appellate government counsel and three Air Force appellate defense counsel argued three cases at CAAF last term: Capt Joseph Kubler, Maj Charles Warren, and Maj Naomi Porterfield from JAJG and Maj Nick McCue, Maj Reggie “Yagermeister” Yager, and Capt Andy Unsicker from JAJA. The Navy-Marine Corps appellate government and appellate defense divisions each had one lawyer with three oral arguments — Capt Robert Eckert from Code 46 and LCDR Michael Torrisi from Code 45.
To narrow down the field, I decided to look at the success rate of each of the eight counsel who argued three cases. Two of the counsel had a clean sweep — winning a victory in each of their three cases. Those two counsel are our 2010 Term SIlver CAAF Tongue Award winners. Congratulations to Capt Joseph Kubler and Maj Charles Warren.
I’ve started doing some number crunching of CAAF’s 2010 Term opinions. The resulting stats will probably generate a few posts over the weekend.