Supreme Court Seminar

Catalog No.: 431

Course Description:

The operation of the United States Supreme Court, using cases slated for argument and decision on the Court’s current docket as the primary focus of study. Four weeks of the course will involve reading and discussing scholarship about the Court Ce.g, the certiorari process, the selection of Justices, and how the Court decides cases. Ten weeks of the course will be devoted to the oral argument and decision of cases on the Court’s current docket. At each such class meeting, some students will act as attorneys in the case and present oral arguments. The remaining students will act as justices, questioning the attorneys during argument and then meeting in conference to decide the case. For each case, at least two students will write opinions, which will subsequently be circulated, to the entire class for discussion. By the end of the semester, each student will argue at least one case and write two opinions. For these ten class meetings, every student will be required to read the actual briefs that have been filed with the Supreme Court, as well as some of the important precedent cases. Consequently, this course requires more reading than the average law school class. In addition, students’ written opinions will be reviewed and discussed by their peers. Students uncomfortable with either of these aspects of the class should consider other courses. Grading will be based on in order of importanceCstudents’ written opinions, their oral arguments, and their general class participation. Prerequisite: 200 Constitutional Law I.