Professor Leora Harpaz

The Supreme Court (QWC) - Law 795

Fall, 2006

Office - Room 308; Mailbox - Room 307

Office telephone - 782-1437

E-mail - lharpaz@law.wnec.edu

course website - http://www.wneclaw.com


                              THE SUPREME COURT (QWC)


COURSE OUTLINE


I.         Week 1 (August 29) - Introductory Class - Course Organization.


             Materials:

            (1) Syllabus (hard copy and online);

            (2) Docket - Supreme Court cases that will be briefed and argued during the course of the semester (online);

            (3) Case Selection Form due at noon on Tuesday September 5 (hard copy and online);

            (4) Readings on the Certiorari Process to be discussed in class on September 5 (online);

            (5) Writ of Certiorari assignment due at noon on September 12 (online);

            (6) Supreme Court Rules (online)

            (7) The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th edition) (Harvard Law Review Association) (2005) (purchase).

 

II.        Week 2 (September 5) - The Certiorari Process - Drafting a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.


            Materials:

            (1) Readings on brief writing to be discussed in class on September 12 (online).

 

            Deadlines:

            The Case Selection Form is due at noon on Tuesday September 5. It should be placed in an envelope labeled “Case Selection Form” that will be taped to my office door (Room 308). Students who choose not to turn in the form by the deadline will be assigned to cases without regard to their preference. Case assignments will be sent to members of the class by e-mail and posted on the course website by noon on Thursday September 7.


III.       Week 3 (September 12) - Advocacy Skills - Brief Writing.


            Materials:

            (1) Readings on the backgrounds and judicial philosophies of the nine current Justices of the United States Supreme Court to be discussed in  class on September 15 (online);

             (2) Instructions for First Draft of Brief (online);

            (3) Assignment to draft a cert question in your assigned case for in class review (online).


            Deadlines:

            (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 (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). 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 draft of a proposed cert question in your assigned case is by noon on Monday September 18. You should send it to me by e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). It will be on time if it is sent to me by e-mail by noon on September 18 even if it is not delivered till after that time. I will be preparing a handout of the draft questions for in-class review on Tuesday September 19.


IV.      Week 4 (September 19) - Drafting a Cert Question and the Backgrounds and Judicial Philosophies of the Nine Current Justices of the United States Supreme Court.


            Materials:

            Readings on the 2005-06 Supreme Court Term to be discussed in class on September 26 (online).

 

V.        Week 5 (September 26) - Review of the 2005-06 Supreme Court Term.


            Materials:

            Readings on selection of Supreme Court Justices to be discussed in class on October 10 (online).


VI.      Week 6 (October 3) - No Class (Monday Classes meet this day).


VII.     Week 7 (October 10) - Selection of Supreme Court Justices.


            Materials:

            Readings on oral advocacy to be discussed in class on October 24 (online).


            Deadlines:

            First Drafts of Briefs are due by noon on Tuesday October 10. Briefs should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). Briefs will be on time if they are sent to me by e-mail by noon on October 10 even if they are not delivered till after that time.

  

VIII.    Week 8 (October 17) - No Class


            Student Conferences:

            Individual Meetings with advocates to review the First Draft will take place at various times during the week.


IX.      Week 9 (October 24) (Class will meet in the Moot Courtroom) - Advocacy Skills - Oral Argument.


            Materials to be handed out:

            Instructions for Oral Arguments (hard copy and online).


X.        Week 10 (October 31) - No regular class meeting on Tuesday. Instead students are asked to attend the Supreme Court Conference on Saturday October 28.

                         

XI.      Week 11 (November 7) - No Class


             Deadlines:

            (1) Final Drafts of Briefs are due by noon on Thursday November 9. Briefs should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). Briefs will be on time if they are sent to me by e-mail by noon on November 9 even if they are not delivered till after that time. The briefs will be distributed to members of the class as an attachment to an e-mail by Friday November 10.


XII.     Week 12 (November 14) - (Moot Courtroom) - Oral Argument in Case # 1 (Judges are advocates in Case # 2 and Case # 3).


            Materials:

            (1) Instructions for Opinion (hard copy and online)

            (2) Readings on Judicial Opinion Writing (online).


XIII.    Week 13 (November 21) (Room 2) - Judicial Opinion Writing


XIV.   Week 14 (November 28) - (Moot Courtroom) - Oral Arguments in Cases 2 and 3 (Judges are Advocates in Case # 1).


            Deadlines:

            (1) Opinions are due anytime on Monday December 4. Opinions should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). Opinions will be on time if they are sent to me by e-mail anytime on December 4 even if they are not delivered till after that date.

            (2) Prepare a short summary of your opinion, including the result you reached and the principal reasons you relied on to support that result, to deliver orally in class on December 5.


XV.     Week 15 (December 5) (Moot Courtroom) - Decision Day - Opinions

            announced from the Bench.



GRADING


            The final grade will be computed on the following basis:


1. Participation (including class discussions, oral argument, and service as a judge in questioning the advocates) - 10%


2. Certiorari Petition - 10%


3. First Draft of Brief - 20%


4. Final Draft of Brief - 40%


5. Opinion - 20%



DEADLINES


Case Selection Form - Tuesday September 5 at noon. It should be placed in an envelope labeled “Case Selection Form” that will be taped to my office door (Room 308).


Certiorari Petition - Tuesday September 12 at noon. Cert Petitions should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). 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.


Draft of Cert Question - Noon on Monday September 18. Your draft of a proposed cert question in your assigned case should be sent to me by e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). It will be on time if it is sent to me by e-mail by noon on September 18 even if it is not delivered till after that time. I will be preparing a handout of the draft questions for in-class review on Tuesday September 19.


First Draft of Brief - Tuesday October 10 at noon. Briefs should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). Briefs will be on time if they are sent to me by e-mail by noon on October 10 even if they are not delivered till after that time.


Final Draft of Brief - November 9 at noon. Briefs should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). Briefs will be on time if they are sent to me by e-mail by noon on November 9 even if they are not delivered till after that time.


Opinion - Anytime on Monday December 4. Opinions should be prepared using either Word or WordPerfect word processing software and sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail (lharpaz@law.wnec.edu). Opinions will be on time if they are sent to me by e-mail anytime on Monday December 4 even if they are not delivered till after that time.


All assignments should be prepared using Word or WordPerfect word processing software. They should be double-spaced. Assignments should be aligned with the margin on the left side of the page, but should not be “right justified.” At a minimum, you should leave one inch margins on all sides of the page (right, left, top and bottom). Assignments should have a page number at the bottom of each page. Make sure that you always put your word processing document through a spell check before turning it in to me. All citations should follow citation rules in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th edition) (Harvard Law Review Association) (2005). You should make sure that you keep a copy of your work on your computer.



RESEARCH MATERIALS


            In general, you may research your case by consulting any material in the law library. You should use all of the available research materials including searches on Westlaw and LEXIS, traditional case research using digests, legislative history research, research for secondary sources such as law review articles using indexes like the Index to Legal Periodicals and the databases available on Westlaw and LEXIS, and microfiche and microfilm materials. Remember that the key to effective research is redundancy. You can only be certain you have found all the relevant materials, if you find the same materials through a number of different research techniques.


            THE ONE EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE INVOLVES THE ACTUAL BRIEFS FILED IN THE CASES THAT STUDENTS IN THE CLASS ARE LITIGATING. WHILE THESE BRIEFS MAY BE AVAILABLE THROUGH WESTLAW, LEXIS OR OTHER SOURCES, THEY MAY NOT BE CONSULTED BY MEMBERS OF THE CLASS. ANY VIOLATION OF THIS RULE WILL BE CONSIDERED THE EQUIVALENT OF USING MATERIALS ON AN EXAMINATION NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE INSTRUCTOR. THE PENALTY WILL BE A FAILURE IN THE COURSE AND SUBMISSION OF THE MATTER TO THE HONOR CODE COMMITTEE.


            IN ADDITION, YOU MAY NOT CONSULT ANYONE INVOLVED WITH THE CASES YOU ARE RESEARCHING, OR ANY LITIGATION INVOLVING THE SAME OR SIMILAR ISSUES. THIS INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, ATTORNEYS, SUPPORT STAFF OR COURT PERSONNEL. YOU MAY NOT OBTAIN COPIES OF ANY MATERIALS PREPARED IN CONNECTION WITH THE CASES YOU ARE RESEARCHING, OR ANY LITIGATION INVOLVING THE SAME OR SIMILAR ISSUES. THIS INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, PETITIONS FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI, BRIEFS OR ANY OTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE COURT. ANY VIOLATION OF THIS RULE WILL BE CONSIDERED THE EQUIVALENT OF USING MATERIALS ON AN EXAMINATION NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE INSTRUCTOR. THE PENALTY WILL BE A FAILURE IN THE COURSE AND SUBMISSION OF THE MATTER TO THE HONOR CODE COMMITTEE.



LATENESS


            The deadlines described in this syllabus are an essential part of the effective functioning of the seminar. Unexcused lateness in meeting any deadline will result in a penalty that applies to that part of your grade. The penalty will be 5 points for each 24 hour delay, or any part of that period. For example, if the first draft of your brief is due by noon on October 10, but it is not sent to me until 9 a.m. on October 11, you will lose 5 points on your grade on the first draft. Each part of your grade will be calculated on a scale of between 55 and 99. Therefore, if your grade on the draft would have been 85, your delay in turning it in will reduce your grade to 80.


            Deadlines are important throughout the course. However, they are crucial in the case of deadlines for the final drafts of briefs. Other members of the class, and particularly students who have briefed the other side of the same case or who will be judging your case, are depending on your submission of your brief so they can prepare for the oral argument.


            While the penalty system described above applies to unexcused lateness, it does not apply to excused lateness. A lateness will be excused only upon consultation by me with the Associate Dean and in circumstances where the excuse would justify a delay in the taking of a scheduled final examination (e.g., illness of the student, death or serious illness of a close family member). Explanations such as the inability to secure adequate time on a word processor or other computer problems will not be viewed as justifying an excused lateness.


            Should any emergency arise which makes it impossible to comply with a scheduled deadline, please notify me as soon as circumstances permit. If the delay occurs in handing in the final draft of a brief, I will need time to notify other students in the class that there will be a delay in the availability of one of the briefs.