The Supreme Court

Professor Harpaz

Fall, 2006


                                                              Certiorari Assignment

1.  The Certiorari Petition assignment is due by noon on Tuesday September 12.  Cert Petitions should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (  The Petition will be on time if it is sent to me by e-mail by noon on September 12 even if it is not delivered till after that time.


2.  Your assignment is to write the argument section of a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of the defendant Carl Patton. He is seeking review by the United States Supreme Court of the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in the case of United States v. Patton, 451 F.3d 615 (10th Cir. 2006).   This assignment  requires both independent legal research and legal writing. 


3.  The case has been docketed in the Supreme Court as Patton v. United States and been assigned the docket number of 06-2006.  The question presented in the case has already been drafted.  It is as follows: 


Question presented: Does 18 U.S.C. ' 931, which prohibits the intrastate possession by a felon of a bulletproof vest, exceed Congress= power A[t]o regulate Commerce . . . among the several States,@ U.S. Const. art. I, '  8, cl. 3, as interpreted by this Court=s decision in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995)?


You may use the question presented as already drafted or redraft the question at your option.


4.  Your Petition should consist of the Argument Sections of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari including any headings and subheadings you deem appropriate.  You should consult the Sample Certiorari Petition Argument Section as well as the Sample Student Certiorari Petition for the format you should use.  Remember to put your name in the upper left hand corner as on the two examples.


5.  Your Certiorari Petition should be prepared using Word or WordPerfect word processing software.  It should be double-spaced.  The Petition should be aligned with the margin on the left side of the page, but should not be Aright justified.@  At a minimum, you should leave one inch margins on all sides of the page (right, left, top and bottom).  The Petition should have a page number at the bottom of each page.  Make sure that you put your word processing document through a spell check before turning it in to me.  You should make sure that you keep a copy of your work on your computer. 


6.  All citations should follow the citation rules in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation" (18th edition).  The citations in the Sample Certiorari Petition Argument Section handout follow these rules.  The citation format used by the West Publishing Company in its reporters does not conform to Bluebook rules.

7.  Your Petition Ashould be stated briefly" (Supreme Court Rule 14.3) and under no circumstances should it exceed 10 pages in length.