The Harlan Institute and The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) announce their Seventh Annual Virtual Supreme Court Competition. This 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 the competition focuses on Timbs v. State of Indiana.
The competition is endorsed by the Center for Civic Education’s We The People Competition:
“The Center for Civic Education is excited to endorse the Virtual Supreme Court Competition. The Competition is relevant for high school students studying the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
-Robert Leming, Director, We the People Programs, Center for Civic Education
Resolved: Whether the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment?
This competition has two stages, which mirror the process by which attorneys litigate cases.
Stage One: The Briefing and Oral Arguments
A team of two students will be responsible for writing an appellate brief arguing for either the petitioner or the respondent, as well as completing an oral argument video. The brief and video will be due by February 22, 2019.You can see the winning briefs from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Stage Two: The Tournament
The Harlan Institute and ConSource will select the top teams supporting the Petitioner and Respondent, and seed them for the oral argument semifinals on March 23, 2019. All teams will compete in a virtual oral argument session over Google+ Hangout judged by staff members at the Harlan Institute and ConSource. Only teams that submit briefs that fully comply with all of the rules will be considered for oral argument. You can see the video from the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 competitions.
The final round of the Virtual Supreme Court Competition will be held in Washington, D.C. (In 2017 and 2018, the tournament was hosted at the Georgetown University Law Center Supreme Court Institute). The Harlan Institute and ConSource will sponsor the top two teams, and their teachers, for a trip to Washington, D.C. in April 2019 to debate in front of a panel of expert judges, including lawyers, university level debate champions, and legal scholars.
Grand Prize – The Solicitors General of FantasySCOTUS
The members of grand-prize winning team, the Solicitors General of FantasySCOTUS, and their teacher, will receive a free trip, including airfare and one night of hotel accommodations, to Washington, D.C. to attend the ConSource Constitution Day celebration in September 2019. This offer is open to U.S. residents only.
Members of the runner-up team will each receive an iPad Mini.
Members of the third and fourth place teams will each receive a $100 Amazon.com Giftcard.
Ask your teacher to sign up your class on FantasySCOTUS (all High School students can participate), add an account, read the problem, and get started! Good luck.
Please send any questions to [email protected] or [email protected].