Originally Posted by alnorth
I suspect that, aside from the argument itself being interesting and fun for them, those 8 justices are more interested in their place in history and their legacy, which requires vigorous thoughtful participation in oral arguments. They are only useful for the public, which is probably good enough to keep them. I would be annoyed if they were done away with, but the 60 minute oral argument is not going to sway a justice where hundreds of pages of briefs and that justice's dozens or hundreds of hours of attention on the issue failed to do so.
You're wrong at a fundamental level. Generally, oral argument is standard for all briefs on important matters in all federal and state courts, from trial court all the way through the appeals court.
Presumably judges across all levels are not just "interested in their place in history and their legacy." So we have 200+ years of experience in federal court and state courts, at all levels on the one side, and one rather odd duck who finds no use for them on the other.