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Teaching American History: Moot Courts and Constitutional Concepts.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching American History: Moot Courts and Constitutional Concepts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching American History: Moot Courts and Constitutional Concepts

2 The Supreme Court

3 Which Cases Do They Hear? Almost exclusively appellate cases  Deciding issues of the law, not facts  Not determining guilt or innocence  Interpreting a law or deciding whether a law or action is constitutional Must have a federal issue  Saying what a federal law means  Determining whether a law or government action violates the U.S. Constitution  No role in saying what state laws mean or whether laws or actions violate state constitution

4 U.S. District Court – 94 districts Federal Trials FEDERAL: 1 million cases/yr STATES: 30 million cases/yr Trial Courts – municipal or county Local Trials State Supreme Court – highest state court Intermediate Appeals Court U.S. Supreme Court? Original Jurisdiction ~80% of cases accepted come from federal system <1% of cases accepted are original jurisdiction U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: 12 circuits + Federal Circuit ~ 80 Decisions How do cases get to the

5 A Year at the Supreme Court October April June January September Oral arguments Decisions Certiorari grants OCTOBER TERM (OT) 2013

6 Oral Argument Cases last one hour – each side gets 30 minutes Justices interrupt with questions If the U.S. government is siding with one party, they might get 10 of that side’s 30 minutes to argue.

7 Decisions Released as they are ready Types of Opinions  Majority  Concurring  Dissenting  Per Curiam Lays out court’s decision and reasoning Summary read from the bench

8 Case Studies PRECEDENTS ARGUMENTS ISSUES FACTS DECISION

9 Unmarked Opinions PRECEDENTS ARGUMENTS ISSUES FACTS DECISION 1DECISION 2

10 Judicial Opinion Writing PRECEDENTS ARGUMENTS ISSUES FACTS

11 Student Law Firms PRECEDENTS ISSUES FACTS

12 The Fourth Amendment What are the uncommon words in this Amendment? “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

13 The Fourth Amendment Who is protected by the Fourth Amendment? Whose actions are limited by the Fourth Amendment? “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

14 The Fourth Amendment What is a search? What is a seizure? What kinds of searches and seizures are prohibited? “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

15 The Fourth Amendment What is a warrant? How is one obtained? Are warrantless searches ever permitted? If so, in what circumstances? “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

16 Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement When the police lawfully arrest the person, they can search him and the area in his immediate control. When the person voluntarily agrees to the search. When the police have probable cause to believe that a vehicle contains contraband (because the vehicle could get away while they wait for a warrant). When the police officer reasonably thinks a person is behaving suspiciously and is likely to be armed. The officer may stop that person and frisk for weapons to protect officer safety. When an object connected with a crime is in plain view and can be seen from a place where the officer is allowed to be. When the police encounter certain emergency situations where people are in danger and the police do not have time to get a warrant, they may enter and/or search the building to protect people’s safety. Government officials may search people and their belongings at borders and airports.

17 A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Two elements:  The person must actually expect the thing to be private  Society generally thinks that expectation is legitimate

18 A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Two elements:  The person must actually expect the thing to be private  Society generally thinks that expectation is legitimate Reasonable ExpectationNot Reasonable In plain view in a public place The inside of your home Private areas in your office Trash left out for collection U.S. Postal mail Opaque containers or packages Sounds coming from your home that are audible outside it

19 A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Two elements:  The person must actually expect the thing to be private  Society generally thinks that expectation is legitimate Reasonable ExpectationNot Reasonable The inside of your home Private areas in your office U.S. Postal mail Opaque containers or packages In plain view in a public place Trash left out for collection Sounds coming from your home that are audible outside it In plain view in a public place The inside of your home Private areas in your office Trash left out for collection U.S. Postal mail Opaque containers or packages Sounds coming from your home that are audible outside it

20 Moot Court: Procedures The justices enter and the marshal or clerk says, “The Honorable, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God Save the United States and this Honorable Court!” The chief justice calls the case: “We’ll hear argument today in case number , Florida v. Jardines.” Petitioner’s Argument (5 minutes*) Respondent’s Argument (5 minutes*) Petitioner’s Rebuttal (3 minutes) Respondent’s Rebuttal (3 minutes) Justices Deliberate and Announce Decision Street Law’s civility rule – no questions from the justices for the first 30 seconds


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