This seminar seeks greater understanding of the nature of Supreme Court decision-making in four primary ways:
First, we will read a modest amount of secondary source material and discuss how the Supreme Court works and how it differs from other American courts.
Second, we will study in depth several cases being decided by the Court this Spring.
Third, through two short (10-12 page, double-spaced) writing assignments and opportunities for extensive one-on-one discussion with me, there will be a heavy emphasis on effective legal writing.
Fourth, we will focus on effective oral advocacy, as practiced in the U.S. Supreme Court, with multiple opportunities to observe actual moot courts and talk with arguing counsel, and also for each student to participate as advocate and judge in short, informal moot courts, all in cases currently pending before the Court.
Topics to be discussed include the certiorari process, strategic considerations in briefing before the Court, the role of amici curiae, the Office of the Solicitor General and its impact on the work of the Court, and the role of oral argument in the decisional process.
Students will be expected to be prepared to participate at each seminar meeting. Course grades will be based on classroom participation and the two papers.