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The 2020 Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court Elite 8 Round

Last month, we hosted the semifinal rounds for the Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court competition. And this past weekend, we hosted the Elite 8 Round. These higher-schoolers are remarkable. They could compete, and win, a law school moot court competition. And they could out-argue most attorneys before the courts of appeals.

I am deeply grateful to our stellar roster of judges. Presiding over the first match was Deputy Solicitor General Rebecca Taibleson, who argued Torres, and prevailed. Chris Riano, the President of the Center for Civic Education, presided over the third and fourth matches. And we had a cadre of five law professors rounding out the benches. I judged, along with my colleagues from the South Texas College of Law Houston, Geoff Corn and Amanda Peters. And we were lucky to have Professor Josh Kastenberg from the University of New Mexico and Rachel VanLandingham from Southwestern. All of these judges (present company excluded) were former prosecutors/and or defense attorneys. They brought their considerable experience to the tournament. And the students faced red-hot benches.

We had four matches. And as fate would have it, the Petitioner and Respondent teams from Match #1 have both advanced to the championship round. And these teams also faced off against each other in the semifinal round. In total, they will compete against each other three times. Congratulations to Senou Kounouho and Ayaan Siddiqui from BASIS Peoria in Arizona and Anita Ashok and Kashish Bastola from Frisco CTE Center in Texas. We will have more details about the final match shortly.

Here are the videos from the rounds.

Match #1

Petitioner: Team 7872

Respondent: Team 7852

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjMje-tS-lE&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=JoshBlackman

Match #2

Petitioner: Team 7857

Respondent: Team 7976

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnYPXr3bvKA&ab_channel=JoshBlackman

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The 2020 Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court Semifinal Rounds

This past weekend, we hosted the semifinal rounds for the Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court competition. The teams were superb. Truly, these high school students could compete in any law school moot court competition. We will announce the advancing teams shortly. Here, I would like to thank all of the judges who volunteered their time: John Sparks, Ryan Brown, Christopher Riaño, Jen Deibel, Samantha Vajskop, Curtis Herbert, and Rebecca Taibleson. We are especially grateful to Deputy SG Taibleson, who argued Torres, and prevailed!

Match #1

Petitioner: Team 8006

  • School: West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North
  • Students: Rithika Iyengar and Siddharth Satish
  • Location: Plainsboro Township, New Jersey
  • Petitioner Brief
  • Preliminary Round

Respondent: Team 7860

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bOmHHkxb9Y&ab_channel=JoshBlackman

 

Match #2

Petitioner: Team 7872

Respondent: Team 7852

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2KJQo2sj3M&ab_channel=JoshBlackman

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The Top 12 Respondent Teams in The 2020 Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court

In October, the Harlan Institute and Ashbrook announced the Eighth 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 Torres v. Madrid.

We are proud to announce the top 12 respondent teams that will advance to the next round. Here are their preliminary oral argument videos, and their briefs. We announced the top 12 petitioner teams here.

Team 7476

  • School: Pine Crest School
  • Students: Pedro Ribeiro and Yuvraj Tuli
  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Respondent Brief

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihuBNEAQIvA

Team 7810

  • School: Eastside Catholic High School
  • Students: Sam Niehl and Ruoya Huang
  • Location: Sammamish, Washington
  • Respondent Brief

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jIVAEMFQGc&ab_channel=SharonHuang

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The Top 12 Petitioner Teams in The 2020 Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court

In October, the Harlan Institute and Ashbrook announced the Eighth 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 Torres v. Madrid.

We are proud to announce the top 12 petitioner teams that will advance to the next round. Here are their preliminary oral argument videos, and their briefs. We will announce the top 12 respondent teams in another post.

Team 7847

  • School: The Founders Academy
  • Students: Francesca Vesey and James Inamorati
  • Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Petitioner Brief

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-vR-yJ7Hbs&ab_channel=F.M.Vesey

Team 7855

  • School: Creekview High School
  • Students: Jaqueline Aleman and Daniel Sawyers
  • Location: Carrolton, Texas
  • Petitioner Brief

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tzU1AVDkMY&ab_channel=JonathanRay

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The 2020 Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court

The Harlan Institute and Ashbrook announce the Eighth 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 Torres v. Madrid.

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:  

Is an unsuccessful attempt to detain a suspect by use of physical force a “seizure” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment or must physical force be successful in detaining a suspect to constitute a “seizure”?

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, as well as completing an oral argument video. The brief and video will be due by February 22, 2021.You can see the winning briefs from 2012201320142015201620172018, and 2019.


Stage Two: The Tournament

The Harlan Institute and Ashbrook will select the top sixteen teams supporting the Petitioner and Respondent, and seed them for the oral argument semifinals in April 2021. All teams will compete in a virtual oral argument session over Zoom judged by the Harlan Institute and Ashbrook. Only teams that submit briefs that fully comply with all of the rules will be considered for oral argument. You can see the videos from the 20122013201420152016 20172018, and 2019 competitions.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMIM2V8Vm4YojBA5qjBm2abYDd_w8rHrJ

Historically, the final round of the Virtual Supreme Court Competition has been held at the Georgetown Supreme Court Institute in Washington, D.C. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot plan an in-person gathering. As a result, we will host the championship round over Zoom in May 2021. The competition will be judged by 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 top Petitioner and Respondent teams will be invited to attend the Ashbrook Academy on the Supreme Court and the Constitution in June 2021. Ashbrook will cover reasonable travel costs to the academy. Members of the winning team will each receive a $500 Amazon gift card. Members of the runner-up team will each receive a $250 Amazon.com gift card.

Semifinalists

Members of the sixteen semifinalist teams will each receive a $25 Amazon.com gift card.

Instructions

Coaches can register their teams at the Institute of Competition Sciences. Read the problem, and get started! Good luck.

Please send any questions to info@harlaninstitute.org.


The Harlan Institute

Learn more about the Harlan Institute.