Mock Supreme Court Arguments Challenge Students
by Zanny Marsh
Students in two sections of First Amendment and Society (JOUR 401) will present opposing sides of First Amendment cases before a mock U.S. Supreme Court, Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon, in the National Judicial College courtroom on the University campus and the public is welcome.
Students will use copies of the actual briefs submitted by the parties to the Supreme Court to present the following cases:
- Near v. State of Minnesota (prior restraint), 283 U.S. 697 (1931)
- New York Times v. Sullivan (application of First Amendment to libel), 376 U.S. 254 (1964)
- Cohen v. California (offensive t-shirt in courtroom), 403 U.S. 15 (1971)
- New York Times v. United States (the "Pentagon Papers" case), 403 U.S. 713 (1971) (national security v. censorship)
- Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) (obscenity)
- Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989) (flag burning)
The “attorneys” for each course section will have five minutes of uninterrupted oral argument, followed by a five-minute period for questions from the “bench.” The mock justices will hold a short “conference” and then announce the decision(s) in each case.
The three-member panel of judges include Judge Jan Berry, Second Judicial District Court in Reno; Stewart Cheifet, assistant professor of broadcast and John Newell, National Judicial College program attorney.