Supreme Court PracticeClass Term:
Fall Term 2020-2021Catalog Number:
3 (2 Contact, 1 Field)Graduation Requirements:
Seminar - 3rd Year PriorityFull Year Course:
The student responsibilities for the course are to (1) do all assigned readings before we meet, (2) attend all classes and participate in our discussions, and (3) complete a final paper. This will be a rigorous course—the readings will be lengthy and cover complex topics, and the assignment (if done correctly) will require substantial time and effort.
Grades in this course will be based on the following:
60% Final Paper (due at the end of the semester)
40% Attendance and Participation
This course will introduce students to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, with an emphasis on understanding the rules that govern the Court’s handling of cases and the Court’s decision-making processes. Over the duration of the course, we will track the progress of recent cases before the Supreme Court from beginning to end through certiorari filings, decisions to grant or deny certiorari, merits filings, oral arguments, and opinions. We will also take a closer look at three cases as examples that the students in the class will help us select. In particular, we will ask for student help to pick a case that was decided last Term, one that is scheduled to be argued during the course, and one that will be argued later in the Term. Our final exercise in the course will be to do a mock Conference in which we will try to predict the outcome in the case we select that has been argued but not yet decided by the Court. This course will continue to build student skills in (1) reading and analyzing cases, particularly Supreme Court cases; (2) identifying issues and considerations that might lead the Court to adopt a particular holding; (3) understanding how various argument strategies might affect outcomes; and (4) analyzing legal problems, including stating the established law, identifying open or unresolved or new issues in the law, and applying law to the facts to resolve a problem.