The purpose of this seminar is to introduce you to the basics of Supreme Court practice and to teach you appellate advocacy skills. You will learn the ins and outs of the certiorari process and put that knowledge to work in crafting either a Reasons for Granting Certiorari or a Reasons for Denying Certiorari. You will also learn techniques for presenting cases on the merits in the Supreme Court, and then draft a brief in, and argue, a Supreme Court case. The certiorari-stage Reasons for Granting or Denying Certiorari will be no more than 1,900 words in length, excluding footnotes (roughly 8 pages) and a draft merits briefs must be at least 6,250 words in length, excluding footnotes (roughly 25 pages), but no more than 7,000 words (roughly 28 pages). We will give you comments on your draft merits brief, and you will then submit a revised final merits brief with legal citations of at least 6,250 words, excluding footnotes, but no more than 7,000 words. In the process, you will receive one-on-one instruction from the professors and learn through in-class discussions based on the instructors’ extensive experience litigating in the Supreme Court.
The professors for the seminar are:
The Honorable Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who worked for four years in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Appellate Staff, and for eleven years in the Office of the Solicitor General. While in practice, she argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and briefed scores more, as well as dozens of cases before appellate courts.
Michael Robinson, formerly Senior Counsel with the Appellate Staff, Civil Division, at the Department of Justice, has argued 119 appeals, including three en banc cases, before every federal court of appeals in the country, and several state appellate courts. Professor Robinson also has drafted numerous Supreme Court briefs at both the certiorari and merits stages with the Office of the Solicitor General.