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The 2016 Harlan Institute-ConSource Virtual Supreme Court

The Harlan Institute and The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) announce their Fourth 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 Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin.

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 race conscious affirmative action consistent with Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution?

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 26, 2016. Completed briefs will be awarded the ConSource Badge. You can see the winning briefs from 20132014, and 2015.

Stage Two: The Tournamnet

The Harlan Institute and ConSource will select the top teams supporting the Petitioner and Respondent, and seed them for oral arguments. 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 20132014, and 2015 competitions. The winners will be crowned the Solicitors General of FantasySCOTUS, and win an amazing prize.

The Prizes

Grand Prize – The Solicitors General of FantasySCOTUS

The members of grand-prize winning team, the Solicitors General of FantasySCOTUS, 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 2015. Winners must be at least 18 years at the time of the trip (it is no problem if the student has already graduated high school in September of 2016, so long as he or she was in high school during the competition). 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.


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.


Play FantasySCOTUS

Your students can play like the 10th Justice

FantasySCOTUS Scoreboard

The Harlan Institute

Learn more about the Harlan Institute.