Instructor: Weinberg, Louise
Class Title: Supreme Court Seminar
SUPREME COURT SEMINAR (non-writing)
This is a non-writing seminar. There is no written requirement or examination. Grades are based on performance during seminar meetings. Performance is evaluated by demonstrated depth of preparation and effectiveness of legal argument. This seminar is based on the traditional Supreme Court Seminar offered here by the late Charles Alan Wright, which was also a non-writing seminar. Students participate as Justices of the United States Supreme Court in "judicial conference," although no actual role playing is involved. In the week before each judicial conference, students do their own clerking, preparing for discussion of an actual case currently on certiorari before the United States Supreme Court. At the conferences, the Justices present their individual views of how the case before them should be decided, supporting their positions with arguments based on their researches. This is nominally a round robin, but the Justices may interrupt each other at will to disagree or seek clarification. After this initial round they argue the issues freely, trying to achieve a majority for decision of the case. The seminar offers exposure to some of the Court's more interesting current cases, and to actual professional materials of national importance, while providing experience in analysis of legal issues through focused lawyerly argument. The experience can be a revelation of the variety and interest of the Court’s current cases, and can introduce the student to interesting areas of federal law generally as well as of constitutional law. Because the seminar presumes completion of the first year of law school, it is open to upperclass students only. Enrollment is limited, but the course is open to all first comers. Two hours.