Supreme Court Litigation
These differences are most obvious in the certiorari process, by which the Court identifies the cases it will hear on the merits. Lawyers on both sides are charged with the task of convincing the Court that the case at hand either is or is not one which clearly presents for the Court’s review a legal issue of sufficient moment and controversy as to presently demand the Court’s attention. We will study the certiorari process, consider at some length the features of a case that enhance or detract from its chances for certiorari, and focus specifically on the tasks of drafting certiorari petitions, oppositions to certiorari, and reply briefs.
After a case is granted and it goes forward on the merits, the selective nature of the Court’s jurisdiction, and its focus on resolving recurring legal issues rather than simply deciding cases, shapes the lawyer’s approach to the case in many important respects. These peculiar aspects of advocacy in the Supreme Court will be discussed in several class sessions dealing with the tasks of drafting merits briefs, including briefs of petitioners, respondents and reply briefs. We will also discuss the role of the amicus briefs and the ways in which they can contribute to the Court’s decision.
Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.