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Congratulations to the Finalists of the Harlan Institute-ConSource OT 2016 Virtual Supreme Court Competition

The Harlan Institute and ConSource are proud to announce the top two teams that will advance to the final round of the OT 2016 Virtual Supreme Court Competition. We received a record-number of submissions of the highest caliber yet.

Petitioner: Luci Mini and Arjun Ahuja (Greenwich HS), coached by Aaron Hull

Respondent: Jacklin Chang and Emma Austin (Lake Oswego HS), coached by Gerrit Koepping

Congratulations to all of the other teams that competed in the semifinals, and entered submissions.

Here are the videos of the semifinal rounds. (For some reason, YouTube did not record the third match).

Congratulations to the Top Eight Teams of the Harlan Institute-ConSource OT 2016 Virtual Supreme Court Competition

The Harlan Institute and ConSource are proud to announce the top eight teams that will advance to the next round of the OT 2016 Virtual Supreme Court Competition. We received a record-number of submissions, with the highest caliber yet.

This year, teams of two high school students were randomly assigned to represent either the petitioner or respondent in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley. Below we have linked to the briefs, and embededded the oral argument preliminary rounds. Over the weekend, we will host four rounds of oral arguments over Google Hangout. The top-two scoring teams will advance to the Championship Round in Philadelphia next month. The winning team, and their teacher, will be rewarded with a trip to Washington, D.C. for Constitution Day 2017.

We are very proud of all of the participants. Good luck!

Petitioners

Lucy Mini and Arjun Ahuja (Greenwich High School, Connecticut)

Sarah Kwartler and Anika Todt (Lake Oswego High School, Oregon)


Kate Smitherman and Joanna Boyer (Creekview High School, Texas)

SaraJane Griffiths and Siobhán Nolan (Lake Oswego HS, Oregon)

 

Respondents

Mahak Merchant and Simon Pena (Creekview HS, Texas)

Jacklin Chang Emma Austin  (Lake Oswego HS, Oregon)

Riley Tribble and John Fregonara (Elkins HS, West Virginia)

Grace Reily-Simmons and Tyanin Opdahl (Lake Oswego, HS)

The Playlist

Support the Harlan Institute $16 of 2016 Campaign

By donating $16 before the end of 2016, you can help send the winners of our Virtual Supreme Court competition to Washington, D.C. to celebrate Constitution Day in September 2017.

Since 2010, through our innovative approach to online legal education with FantasySCOTUS, the Harlan Institute has taught thousands of high school students about our Constitution and the Supreme Court. This year, students can compete in the Fifth Annual Virtual Supreme Court. Through our collaboration with ConSource, students will write briefs and participate in oral arguments concerning the Establishment Clause issues in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley.

Teams of two students choose each side of the issue, write appellate briefs, submit YouTube presentations, and engage in oral arguments against other students using Google+ Hangouts. During the moot court sessions, Harlan and ConSource judges ask the students questions, and challenge them on their briefs. Last term, the final round of oral arguments was held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia before an esteemed panel of judges. The participants debated both sides of Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin.

You can see the winning briefs from 2013 (Fisher I), 2014 (Noel Canning), 2015 (Zivotofsky), and 2016 (Fisher II).

The grand prize for the top two students is a trip to Washington, D.C. to celebrate ConSource’s Constitution Day 2013. Members of the runner-up team will each receive an iPad.

I ask your help to support the prizes for these amazing students. 100% of your tax-deductible donation will be used to cover the costs of bringing the students to our nation’s capital.  The Harlan Institute has no salaried employees, and all of our overhead costs are covered by sponsorships.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Josh Blackman
President, The Harlan Institute

Announcing the 2017 Harlan Institute-ConSource Virtual Supreme Court Competition

The Harlan Institute and The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) announce their Fifth 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 Trinity Lutheran Church v. Sarah Parker Pauley.

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

The Question

Resolved:  Does funding a playground associated with a Church violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?

The Rules

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. This brief and video will be posted on their class’s FantasySCOTUS.  Blog posts and videos will be due by February 27, 2017. Completed briefs will be awarded the ConSource Badge. You can see the winning briefs from 201320142015, and 2016.


Stage Two: The Tournamnet

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 11, 2017. 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 201320142015, and 2016 competitions.

The final round of the Virtual Supreme Court Competition will be held in Philadelphia on April 13, 2017. The Harlan Institute and ConSource will sponsor the top two teams, and their teachers, for a trip to Philadelphia to debate in front of a panel of expert judges, including lawyers, university level debate champions, and legal scholars.

The Prizes

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 2017. This offer is open to U.S. residents only.

Second Prize

Members of the runner-up team will each receive an iPad Mini.

Third Prize

Members of the third and fourth place teams will each receive a $100 Amazon.com Giftcard.

Instructions

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 info@harlaninstitute.org or info@consource.org.

 

ConSource-Harlan Institute Virtual Supreme Court Tournament Featured in Washington Times

My colleague Julie Silverbrook of ConSource featured the ConSource-Harlan Institute Virtual Supreme Court Competition in her Washington Times article on civic education. Here is a snippet:

National Constitutional Literacy Campaign partners host several of these annual competitions, including the ConSource-Harlan Institute Virtual Supreme Court Competition, the Center for Civic Education’s We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Competition, the Constitution Bee, the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project’s Annual Moot Court Competition, the Nethercutt Foundation Citizenship Tournament, and One Generation Away’s Roots of Liberty national essay contest.

Despite expressing deep concerns about where the country is headed, most of the students expressed positive views about the future. They draw this optimism, in part, from their experiences with student competitions, which showed these young citizens how to effect positive change at the local, state and national level.

Tanya Reyna, a winner of the ConSource-Harlan Institute Virtual Supreme Court Competition, noted that while her local community in Texas suffers from “an influx of drugs and criminals” and has dampened her views about the future of her community and the nation, her experience with the Virtual Supreme Court Competition “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.”

This picture was taken at the National Constitution Center for the final round of our tournament. I am joined by Howard Bashman, Kim Roosevelt, Julie Silverbrook, and Chief Judge McKee (CA3).

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