Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know that around this time of the week, I typically write about U.S. Supreme Court Justices or Landmark/Historical U.S. Supreme Court cases. In the course of writing these posts, while I do draw from personal experience, I also delve into external research. Thus, in the course of determining what to write about today, I came across this gem, "Oyez!"

During the course of appellate oral argument, as a law student, we were taught to begin every oral argument, "May it please the court, [your name] appearing on behalf of [party.]" Oyez, then falls into this same category of court observed formalities.

It is pronounced "oh-yay," and stems from Anglo-Norman origin. It originates from the French ouïr, meaning "to hear," and is thus somewhat equivalent to the call "hear ye." It is basically a call to attention.

At the beginning of each court session, the marshall makes the following pronouncement: "The Honorable the Supreme Court Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court!" You can hear a recording of this practice here.

Oyez, another interesting peek into the U.S. Supreme Court.