Originally Posted by Amnorix
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.
I'm not talking about the district or appellate levels where an issue might be novel and an argument unexplored. At the supreme court level, hundreds of hours has been invested into the issue by dozens of people and several judges. Everything there is to be said, has been said. At that point in the supreme court, they already basically know what they will do. This oral argument dance is a fun exercise for them, and a sideshow for us.