Periods 1 and 2: (Research for Moot
1. It is recommended that some class time (1-2 periods)
be scheduled for student lawyers on the moot court teams
to research precedents for their briefs.
Student lawyers will turn in 2 copies of their written
briefs. One copy
for the teacher and one copy for the
three justices on the appeals court (if possible make
2 extra copies so that each justice has his/her own
copy to read).
While the student lawyers are conducting research on
their cases the student justices will research
political ideology of the justices on the Supreme Court
to complete the following:
Go to http://www.oyez.org/oyez/portlet/justices/. List
the nine Supreme Court Justices and the dates
they were appointed.
b. Click on each name of each justice: identify and
list the name of the President who nominated them
the age of each of the justices.
c. Take the political ideology quiz on http://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/PolitQuiz.html to determine your political ideology. Are you liberal
d. Read the article at: http://www.cnn.com/2001/LAW/07/columns/fl.dorf.supremecourt.07.10/ to identify the justice who most closely matches
your own political philosophy.
e. Go to http://www.oyez.org/oyez/portlet/justices/.
Click on the name of the justice who most matches
your political ideology. Click “biography” and “background” on
their page to write a policy statement that elaborates
on their policy positions and political ideology. Also
include the circumstances involving their appointment
to the court. Information to include in your policy statement
Was there any controversy surrounding their confirmation
hearings? If so describe?
Does their voting record match their political ideology?
Has their political view or ideology transformed
since their appointment?
f. Using the information from “a” and “b”,
create a political spectrum: Draw a straight line on
a sheet of paper. Label the line; liberal on the left,
moderate in the middle, and conservative on the right.
Place the justices where they most likely fit on the
g. Write your name on the spot you most likely fit
on the political spectrum.
h. The student lawyers will hand in their Supreme
Court assignment at the same time that the student
turn in their written briefs.
3 and 4: (Preparation for Moot Court)
1. Students will work with their teammates to prepare for oral arguments:
(2) Lawyers for the appellants or petitioners from each
team will plan their oral
b. (2) Lawyers for the appellees or respondents from each team will plan their
c. The (3) appellate justices from each team will read written briefs and compose
questions that they will ask during the oral arguments. The justices should
also select a chief justice at this time.
Prior to the work sessions the teacher should review
the moot court procedures (provided in the previous lesson)
with the students.
The Clerk (teacher) will assign cases to the docket.
Ask the chief justice from each team to draw a number
out of the hat. This is the easiest way to
determine the order that the cases will be heard and placed on the docket
one case per day to allow some time for the justices to deliberate after
the oral arguments.
Remind students to dress appropriately on they day of
5 – 9: (Moot Court)
1. On the first day go over the procedures for giving oral
arguments. (see Moot Court Instructions from previous lesson).Main
points to emphasize:
Chief justice will keep time; each side is allowed 10
minutes to present their case.
b. Lawyer may begin speaking when signaled by the court
c. Lawyer begins with phrase, “may it please the court?”
d. Justices may interrupt at any time to ask questions
or make comments.
e. Lawyers should stop speaking when a judge is talking.
f. Lawyers must stop speaking when the court signals that
their time is up.
g. For participation purposes, it is recommended that both
lawyers for the appellant and appellee give a portion of
the oral arguments.
h. Order of arguments:
i. Appellant (petitioner) goes first
ii. Appellee (respondent) goes second
iii. Appellant (petitioner) is allowed 2 minutes rebuttal.
The teacher should also instruct the audience (those
not participating in the case) on the appropriate courtroom
Audience members are expected to show respect for the
courtroom by not speaking while court is in session.
An option is to offer an incentive for students
to pay attention to the proceedings by writing a reaction to what they
observed: which side do they think gave the better arguments
After oral arguments have ended, allow the three justices
to deliberate (in another room if possible).
After the justices have reached a decision
each write their opinions following the criteria listed in the Moot Court
Instructions. Student justices will write their own opinions for homework
and turn it in
for a grade.
Follow the same procedure for each day of the moot court.
On the final day after all of the cases have been heard
have the justices from each
their judgments on the case. If possible, have the chief justice read
the majority opinion (the opinion of the court).
Discuss what the students think about the appellate process: What do they like?
Dislike? What was the most difficult part of this project? Why?
Students should be expected to write their final drafts of their written briefs
(lawyers) and opinions (justices) outside of class.