On May 18, 2017, The Harlan Institute and The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) will host the championship round of the fifth annual National Virtual Supreme Court Competition for high school students. The championship will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Supreme Court Institute Moot Court Room at Georgetown University Law Center, allowing these talented high school students to argue their case in a replica of the United States Supreme Court.
The Virtual Supreme Court Competition offers teams of two high school students the opportunity to research cutting-edge constitutional law, write persuasive appellate briefs, argue against other students through video chats, and try to persuade a panel of esteemed attorneys during oral argument that their side is correct. This year’s competition focuses on Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer.
The top two teams, who were selected after two preliminary rounds, will have the opportunity to argue their side of the case in front of a distinguished panel of nine judges, including: Honorable Andre Davis, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; Honorable Meg Ryan, United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; Honorable Royce Lamberth, United States District Court for the District of Columbia; Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute; Elizabeth Wydra, President of the Constitutional Accountability Center; Shon Hopwood, Georgetown University Law Center; Gregory Lipper, Clinton Brook & Peed; Josh Blackman, President of the Harlan Institute; and Julie Silverbrook, Executive Director of The Constitutional Sources Project.
Lucy Mini and Arjun Ahuja from Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut, will argue on behalf of the petitioners.
Jacklin Chang and Emma Austin from Lake Oswego High School in Lake Oswego, Oregon will argue on behalf of the respondents.
Julie Silverbrook, Executive Director of ConSource, said of the students: “They represent the very best of America. They are informed, engaged and passionate. If you’re available on the morning of May 18 to see these young students in action, you will undoubtedly walk away with a renewed faith in the future of the American republic!”
One of the winners of the 2016 Virtual Supreme Court Competition, Tanya Reyna, an exceptional young woman from an impoverished, high crime area in Texas, shared that her experience with the competition last year “eased [her] apprehension” about the future. She said that meeting students, lawyers, professors and judges willing to take time out of their busy schedules “to inform younger generations of citizens about our legal system,” demonstrated to her that “as long as there are citizens like them, America will continue to hold a bright future.”
Josh Blackman, President of the Harlan Institute, explained that the “phenomenal students and teachers involved in this tournament restore my faith in the future of our Republic.” He added that now the teams will have to “face a bench of nine Judges, just like at the actual Supreme Court”