How would high school students do if they argued Supreme Court cases? A new effort will showcase a Virtual Supreme Court competition through next year.
The Courtroom of the Supreme Court of the United States. (Franz Jantzen)
During the October 2012 Supreme Court term, The Harlan Institute and The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) are hosting the inaugural competition.
By participating in the competition, high school students will gain experience in researching contemporary constitutional issues, crafting persuasive appellate briefs on their classroom blogs, and presenting convincing oral arguments to legal experts in a virtual courtroom over Google+ Video Hangouts.
The Virtual Supreme Court Competition will take place in two stages: submission of an appellate brief and presentation of oral argument. First, teams of two high school students will file an appellate brief in the form of a blog post advocating for or against the University of Texas’s race-based affirmative action program, the issue pending before the Supreme Court this term in Fisher v. University of Texas.
Specifically, students will answer a fundamental constitutional question, “Is the Fourteenth Amendment Color-Blind?”
For more information on the issue, interested educators and students can visit: http://harlaninstitute.org/contests/virtual-supreme-court/the-ot-2012-virtual-supreme-court-problem-is-the-fourteenth-amendment-color-blind/.
Constitutional law experts at the Harlan Institute and ConSource will review completed briefs, which must be submitted by January 31, 2013, and select the top four briefs for each side.
Second, those eight teams will advance to the oral argument phase of the competition, beginning in February 2013. Teams will compete against each other, and answer questions from Harlan Institute and ConSource judges, over Google+ video Hangouts. This phase of the competition will include three rounds of oral argument. Top appellate attorneys in Washington, D.C., will judge the final round of the competition.
The grand prize for the top two high school students is an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend ConSource’s Constitution Day Celebration on September 17, 2013. Other prizes include an iPad and Amazon gift cards. Additional information about the competition and prizes is available at: http://harlaninstitute.org/contests/virtual-supreme-court/.
Students and educators interested in participating in the Virtual Supreme Court Competition should sign up for FantasySCOTUS, the Harlan Institute’s Supreme Court Fantasy League at http://harlaninstitute.org/fantasyscotus/sign-up/.
For questions or further information, please contact Josh Blackman, President of The Harlan Institute, at JBlackman@HarlanInstitute.org or Julie Silverbrook, Executive Director of ConSource, at Julie.Silverbrook@ConSource.org.