Rod Rosenstein gets his day at the Supreme Court

Rod Rosenstein, the embattled deputy attorney general, took a break from supervising the Russia investigation on Mond...

Posted: Apr 24, 2018 6:21 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2018 6:21 AM

Rod Rosenstein, the embattled deputy attorney general, took a break from supervising the Russia investigation on Monday to make his debut before the Supreme Court and argue a technical sentencing guidelines case.

A seasoned prosecutor, Rosenstein was completely at ease as he jumped into arguments and answered questions, at times relying upon his notes in a brown folder, during the 60-minute argument.

Rosenstein donned a morning coat that is traditionally worn by government lawyers arguing before the court as well as presidential cufflinks that were given to him last Friday by White House counsel Don McGahn.

Asked by a reporter about the cufflinks before arguments began, Rosenstein simply smiled, displayed the cufflinks and said, "Not bad," while laughing.

After arguments he posed with his family on the iconic marble steps and then walked to his car without answering any questions.

A source close to Rosenstein said he had asked to argue a Supreme Court case last winter in order to stay in touch with the practice of the law, as his current job is largely administrative.

In the case, the justices are being asked to resolve a circuit split concerning how much explanation lower courts must provide when granting a motion to reduce a defendant's criminal sentence.

Aduacto Chavez-Meza pleaded guilty in 2013 to conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The government recommended that he be sentenced to 135 months. After the sentencing commission amended the guidelines, Chavez-Meza requested a reduced sentence of 108 months, but he was granted only a sentence of 114. He is appealing the sentence, and claims the district court did not adequately explain how it reached its decision.

Rosenstein argued that the judge didn't have to provide an explanation into his thinking. The judge wasn't just "checking a box," Rosenstein said, he was making a conscientious decision and giving the issue "appropriate consideration."

Several of the justices appeared sympathetic to Rosenstein's position in the case.

His argument before the Supreme Court comes as CNN has reported that President Donald Trump considered firing him after the FBI raided the offices of the President's personal attorney. The action would potentially further Trump's goal of trying to put greater limitations on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Although it's not a common occurrence, Rosenstein is not the first deputy attorney general (or attorney general) to argue a case before the highest court.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 698692

Reported Deaths: 13148
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion953091706
Lake50868931
Allen38607670
Hamilton34028404
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Elkhart26868431
Vanderburgh21948393
Tippecanoe21483212
Johnson17346371
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Vigo12109243
Monroe11253166
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Warrick7660155
Floyd7509175
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Grant6732167
Boone648199
Morgan6341137
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1039455

Reported Deaths: 18827
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1205361345
Cuyahoga1051802040
Hamilton774991164
Montgomery49566984
Summit44613904
Lucas39235757
Butler37466566
Stark31150890
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Clermont19325226
Delaware17811130
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Fairfield15520195
Trumbull15412458
Medina14693255
Greene14510233
Clark13455287
Wood12575182
Portage12183193
Allen11225229
Richland10924197
Miami10470211
Muskingum8653127
Columbiana8482225
Wayne8463209
Pickaway8394120
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Marion8302135
Erie7434153
Ross6650145
Hancock6608123
Geauga6462146
Ashtabula6374163
Scioto625699
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Darke5229121
Jefferson5223147
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Washington5031107
Athens494854
Auglaize470684
Mercer467984
Shelby453489
Knox4339108
Madison417957
Putnam417698
Ashland409186
Fulton402565
Defiance396396
Brown383955
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Logan370076
Preble368295
Clinton357459
Ottawa352278
Highland345058
Williams318274
Champaign317355
Jackson305051
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Fayette276348
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Gallia232146
Pike231031
Adams226251
Wyandot224553
Hocking207057
Carroll187846
Paulding167638
Meigs140938
Noble131837
Monroe128541
Morgan105822
Harrison104836
Vinton81013
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