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Creeping informality at Supreme Court
With chief justice absent, staid Supreme Court is awash in Informality
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The chief justice excuses himself for a mere hour and the Supreme Court starts sounding like a schoolyard. At a very good school, but still.

It's not every day that one lawyer arguing before the justices refers to another as "my buddy." Or that the government's lawyer winds up his argument by telling the justices, "Hope you like it."

But that's what happened Tuesday in a case about whether someone waited too long to file a lawsuit over insider trading that occurred during the rise of technology stocks in the late 1990s.

Chief Justice John Roberts had left the courtroom before the argument began because he wasn't taking part in the case. He has not said why.

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