Berkeley City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque walked a dangerous line during oral arguments before the California Supreme Court in San Francisco a week ago—and probably didn’t even realize it.
Several times during the case in which she was defending the city’s decision to deny free mooring to the Sea Scouts—an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America—Albuquerque interrupted or talked over questions posed by justices Joyce Kennard and Marvin Baxter. She even ignored an inquiry by Kennard, insisting on completely answering a previous question by the justice.
That just isn’t done, and it was surprising that neither Kennard nor Baxter snapped Albuquerque in line with a sharp retort. Both appeared frustrated by Albuquerque’s well-intentioned interruptions, but bit their tongues rather than get mean.
Kennard, however, did plead with Albuquerque at one point to just let her finish a sentence. The attorney seemed to calm down afterward and butted in less often.
Still, veteran court watchers were holding their breath, waiting for the rebuke that never came from the bench.
Don’t expect future buttinskis to be so lucky.
Reprinted with permission from the Jan. 17 issue of the San Francisco Recorder. All rights reserved. Further duplication is prohibited.