553: Unit 3
History 553: Law & American Society, Spring 2019
Part III: The PEA Supreme Court (this page of the syllabus is subject to change)
23. Free speech on campus
READ: Details on Morse v. Frederick at the Oyez site, and various handouts: Doug Linder's "Expoloring Constitutional Issues" page on Students speech rights, the Tinker opinion, and documents on Hazelwood and free speech at private schools.
To what extent does the first amendment protect the student's right of free expression on campus?
24. Voting rights
READ: Details on Shelby County v. Holder at the Oyez site. Handouts, including Doug Linder's "Exploring Constitutional Issues" page on voting rights also linked from here, and excerpts from Alexander Keyssar's The Right to Vote (pp. 263-268, 287-302).
Did the court act prematurely in eliminating the preclearance requirement? See the map of covered districts, in a document attached below.
25-27. Meet in the library for PEA Supreme Court Preparation
Meet in Library to continue research and to prepare for the oral arguments.
The final for this class will be to enact oral arguments in two cases:
Morse v. Frederick and Shelby County v. Holder
Consult the document at the bottom of this page to see the configuration of teams. During these research days you should concentrate on the following:
a) Look back over the readings relating to the case you and your co-counsel will be arguing.
b) Sketch out the standards that were used for that particular case. For each of the 2 cases under consideration, consider the precedents, general rules or guidelines established by those precedents, the distinguishing facts of each case and the particular constitutional issues raised by each. How will you apply them or how will you argue that they do not apply? Consider the extent to which you see precedents, rules, standards, tests as applicable to your case.
c) Additional research. Check the websites listed in the course Intro. In addition, you can also use Google to find sites that provide briefs and oral arguments or that go into more detail about the precedents and their applicability or the history of the case with background and commentary on how the court decided the cases. The Library also has many reference works or secondary sources on the court that would discuss the particular case you’re arguing and its court history. For instance, The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court (Kermit L. Hall, ed.) has essays on each of the three areas we will consider. In addition, there is a binder for each case that has a wealth of information and will aid in your research and the preparation of your brief.
d) Working with your partners, develop the argument you will make before the court. This should be written out in a court brief, one brief for each side. The brief should be typed, and may be submitted in outline form. It should include answers to questions you anticipate from judges on issues discussed above. Your argument before the court might well be longer than this – each side has 15 minutes to present your case - but the brief (to be submitted on the day of the case you are presenting) should be reduced to 3-5 pages. Different members of the team may write different parts of the brief, but all should understand the case you are presenting. At the bottom of this page is a helpful handout.
e) Please submit to me, before the end of this first class in the library, an outline of how your teams will divide the work. Remember that you are member of two teams, one team arguing before the court and one team of justices sitting on a case. Justices will need to prepare for the case too, so they can ask good questions.
28. Briefs Due. See "How to write a brief." You must submit the briefs into an electronic folder that everyone in the class can read. We will meet in the classroom again.
29. Oral Argument: Case I (Morse v. Frederick) .
READ: Before the first oral argument, print out or download and read the word document called "Oyez!Oyez!" at the bottom of this page.
B format: during class time on Thursday, May 23; F format: during class time in Wednesday May 22. Meeting place TBA. On the day of each case, we will meet in the Class of 1951 Room on the 4th floor of the Academy Library. The attorneys for both sides will submit their briefs. The judges will receive a short precis of the case to read as background. The format:
1. Oral Argument: Petitioner (15 Minutes). Justices may interrupt at any
time to ask questions or seek clarification.
2. Oral Argument: Respondent (15 Minutes). Justices may interrupt with questions.
3. Justices’ Conference (10 Minutes). Justices will discuss their reactions to the case and the arguments, at the end of which a preliminary vote will be taken. The rest of us will listen in. The chief justice will announce that vote to the attorneys, by individual vote of each justice on the Court Ballot, but the preliminary vote will not be binding on each justice, who may, overnight, change her/his decision on further reflection.
It is important that members of the teams share the work of preparing briefs and presenting oral arguments in "court" equally.
30. Oral Argument: Case II (Shelby County)
Proceed the same as above. This will take place during the last regular class of the term.
31. Final Exam period: Justices submit decisions to clerk (me). Each justice must write either a dissenting or a majority/concurring opinion. These should be about 750 to 1,000 words in length and address the facts of the case, relevant precedents, standards or tests, and constitutional issues. We may also play Constitution Jeopardy on this day.
32. Thursday, May 30, last day of the term. (25-minute classes)
Farewells are said, course evaluated.