Supreme Court

This is the traditional two-hour non-writing Supreme Court Seminar originated here by the late Charles Alan Wright. Students participate as Justices of the United States Supreme Court, although no actual role playing is involved. There is no book. In the week before each “judicial conference,” students are their own “clerks,” preparing for discussion of an actual undecided case currently before the Supreme Court on certiorari. Research is substantial, typically requiring reading the case below, the salient briefs, the transcript of oral argument, and disputed precedents. At the "judicial conferences," the “Justices” present their individual views of how the assigned case should be decided, supporting their positions with arguments based on their researches. They thrash out the issues freely, trying to achieve a majority for their preferred disposition of the case. There is no paper and no examination. Students are evaluated by performance — specifically by the exhibited depth of research, leadership of discussion, heaviness of participation at each conference, and force and persuasiveness of argumentation. An absence can affect this evaluation, but evaluation is holistic. A student can make up for an unavoidable absence by submitting at the next conference a short (2-3 pages) professional clerking memorandum of law addressed to an actual Supreme Court Justice, detailing the student’s research on the missed case and suggesting the student's preferred result. This submission, however, remains optional. No application is required. But enrollment is limited and only a small number of seats is available. Because the Supreme Court Seminar presumes completion of the basic first year courses in an American law school, registration must be closed to first-year students. There is no pass/fail option. This class does not fulfill the writing seminar requirement for graduation. If registration reaches enrollment limits, students wishing to take this seminar are advised to put their names down on the online waitlist in the ROSE registration system. Two hours.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Monday 1:15 - 3:05 pm TNH 3.129
Exam Type Date Time Alpha Range Room
None

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Not Allowed

Textbooks

  • No materials required