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FantasySCOTUS.net Predictions for March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011
The Supreme Court has announced that it will issue one or more opinions on March 22, 2011. Here are the official FantasySCOTUS.net prediction tracker forecasts for all remaining cases.
Talk America v. Michigan Bell Affirm Details
Connick v. Thompson Reverse Details
Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Affirm Details
US v. Tohono O’odham Nation Affirm Details
Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association Affirm Details
Sossamon v. Texas Affirm Details
Arizona Christian Tuition v. Winn Reverse Details
Cullen v. Pinholster Reverse Details
AT&T v. Concepcion Affirm Details
Flores-Villar v. US Affirm Details
Amara v. CIGNA Reverse Details
Schwarzenegger v. Plata Affirm Details
Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy v. Stewart Affirm Details
Kentucky v. King Reverse Details
Janus Capital v. 1st Derivative Traders Reverse Details
Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting Affirm Details
General Dynamics Corp. v. US Reverse Details
The Boeing Company v. US Reverse Details
Matrixx Initiatives v. Siracusano Reverse Details
Montana v. Wyoming and North Dakota Affirm Details
Goodyear Lux. Tires, SA v. Brown Reverse Details
J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro Reverse Details
Sykes v. US Reverse Details
Smith v. Bayer Corp. Reverse Details
Stern v. Marshall Affirm Details
Astra USA v. Santa Clara County Reverse Details
US v. Tinklenberg Reverse Details
Bond v. United States Reverse Details
Global-Tech Appliances v. SEB S.A. Affirm Details
Freeman v. US Affirm Details
DePierre v. United States Affirm Details
Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. Affirm Details
Schindler Elevator Corporation v. US ex rel. Kirk Affirm Details
Alford v. Greene Reverse Details
Camreta v. Greene Reverse Details
Bullcoming v. New Mexico Reverse Details
Ashcroft v. al-Kidd Reverse Details
Tolentino v. New York Affirm Details
Fox, v. Vice Affirm Details
Turner v. Rogers Reverse Details
J. D. B. v. North Carolina Affirm Details
McComish v. Bennett Reverse Details
Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett Reverse Details
Wal-Mart v. Dukes Reverse Details
Isiogu v. Michigan Bell Affirm Details
Actavis v. Mensing Affirm Details
PLIVA Inc. v. Mensing Affirm Details
Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership Affirm Details
Tapia v. U.S. Affirm Details
American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut Affirm Details
United States v. Jicarilla Apache Nation Affirm Details
Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc. Affirm Details
Madison County v. Oneida Indian Nation Reverse Details
Fowler v. United States Affirm Details

Fantasy Recap: Snyder v. Phelps in plain English

March 3, 2011
Today the Supreme Court decided Snyder v. Phelps. Eight Members of the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects the right of protestors to display signs containing offensive messages about gay people near funerals of fallen military service members. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion. The signs discussed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our military, which are public, rather than private matters. When speech deals with a matter of public concern, it deserves stronger First Amendment protection. Additionally, the protestors stayed approximately 1,000 feet away from the funeral service, and Mr. Snyder, the father of the slain Marine, could only see the tops of the protestors’ signs. Therefore, the speech was protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Justice Alito disagreed with the Court, and wrote a dissenting opinion. Justice Alito wrote that the death of Matthew Snyder was not a public issue, but a private issue. The First Amendment does not protect such outrageous conduct dealing with private matters. The protests caused the Snyder family a lot of pain and suffering. Justice Alito would have permitted the Snyder family to sue the protestors.

Podcast: Interview with Olivia Foster, Creator of TeenJury.com

March 1, 2011
Abbie (on the left) and Olivia (on the right) Foster, creators of TeenJury.com. (Photograph courtesy of Masslive.com)
  Olivia Foster, is a 14-year-old Freshman at Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, and is the creator of TeenJury.com. TeenJury.com is a web site managed by teenagers dedicated to teaching other teens about the Supreme Court and our Constitution.The site provides an anatomy of a Supreme Case, biographies of the Supreme Court Justices, discussions of upcoming cases, recaps of recent cases, and news stories. Last fall, Olivia asked Justice Breyer to autograph a copy of his book, Making Our Democracy work. Justice Breyer  invited her to attend oral arguments, and wrote in her book, “To Olivia, hope to see you in November.” In November, Olivia attended arguments at the Supreme Court for Schwarzenneger v. EMA and Sossamon v. Texas as personal guests of Justice Breyer. This visit to the Court inspired Olivia to create TeenJury.com. In this podcast, I chat with Olivia about her site, how she created it, her experiences at the Supreme Court, and what she thinks more broadly about the state of civic education in America. Olivia has a bright future ahead of her, and no surprise, wants to attend law school. For more background, check out this profile on MassLive.com.
Original audio source (teenjury.mp3)

Harlan Institute’s HARLANconnect Featured on Skype in the Classroom’s Blog

February 21, 2011
Check out this fantastic post from the Skype Blog about the Harlan Institute and HARLANconnect. If your class is interested in participating in a Skype virtual mentoring session, sign up here. If you are interested in serving as a mentor, sign up here.

Podcast: Interview with Professor Tom Donnelly on Schwarzenneger v. EMA

February 8, 2011
Josh Blackman of the Harlan Institute interviewed Professor Tom Donnelly, a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Law School, about Schwarzenneger v. EMA. This case looks at whether the First Amendment of the Constitution bars California from restricting the sale of violent video games to children. Listen to the podcast here.
Original audio source (SchwarzennegerVEma.mp3)

The first article in the February 2011 ABA Journal is about FantasySCOTUS and the Harlan Institute

January 28, 2011
Turn to page 10, or you can read the article online here

Harlan Institute profiled in February 2011 Issue of the ABA Journal

January 24, 2011
The American Bar Association Journal profiled the Harlan Institute in its February 2011 issue. Pending High Court Decisions Fan Interest in Fantasy League:
The words fantasy player and U.S. Supreme Court have never had a reason to be heard in the same breath, but for any law geek who’s ever dreamed of serving as the 10th justice, your fancy now can be fulfilled. The year-old website FantasySCOTUS lets aspiring Supreme Court justices, legal pundits and those of you with a tad too much time on your hands predict the outcome in pending U.S. Supreme Court cases. An aspiring academic, Blackman also has developed a version of the website for high school students atfantasySCOTUS.org. The offshoot was unplanned, but Blackman says he developed it after teachers began asking for it. So far an estimated 200 teachers and 1,000 students play. To support that offshoot, Blackman founded the Harlan Institute and spent his summer developing lesson plans. The Harlan Institute also places volunteer attorneys into classrooms using FantasySCOTUS. “We’ve created a savvy way for attorneys to do pro bono,” Blackman says. “They can even use Skype and volunteer right from their desks.”

Introducing HARLANconnect – Virtual Mentoring Program from the Harlan Institute

January 14, 2011
The Harlan Institute is proud to announce the launch of HARLANconnect.

HARLANconnect revolutionizes the way attorneys and students interact.

  • Classes sign up to learn from a virtual mentor about the Constitution and the Supreme Court
  • Attorneys volunteer to mentor classes
  • HARLANconnect facilitates Skype Video Calls and other virtual exchanges between classrooms and attorney mentors

Sioux Rapids, IowaWhat is HARLANconnect?

HARLANconnect is the Harlan Institute’s innovative platform to help connect attorneys, law professors, and law students with high school classes. Through the use of Skype Video calls, classrooms can connect with attorneys anywhere in the world, and learn more about the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

How does HARLANconnect work?

HARLANconnect provides a simple and easy way for classes to be mentored and learn from attorneys, law professors, and law students. First, interested classes request a mentor. Second, the Harlan Institute contacts one of the attorneys in our vast network, and attempts to locate a suitable mentor for the classroom. This mentor will be an attorney, law professor, or law student with a passion for the Constitution, and an interest in sharing his or her knowledge with tomorrow’s leaders and decision-makers. Third, after a mentor is paired with a class, the Harlan Institute will schedule an initial Skype video call. During this 45-minute call, the mentor will introduce the students to one of the cases pending before the Supreme Court this term, and highlight the constitutional issues in the case. Following the initial Skype Call, if both the class and the mentor concur, the Harlan Institute will schedule additional Skype calls and other forms of electronic exchange.

How do I get involved?

The goal of HARLANconnect is to make the mentoring process as easy and effective as possible. While the time commitment for all parties is rather small, we find that the virtual visits to classrooms are the next-best-thing to in-person visits. If you are an attorney, law student, or law professor, and are interested in mentoring a class, please fill out this form. If you are interested in signing your class up for a mentor, please select a lesson, and sign up for a time slot on this calendar.

Interview with Zachary Parker, Author of Snyder v. Phelps Influenced Respect for Fallen Heroes and Citizens Act of 2010

January 9, 2011
Inspired by a history class project and the events leading Snyder v. Phelps to the Supreme Court, high school senior Zach Parker is using the legislative process to ban protests from military funerals. Zak proposed the  “Respect for Fallen Heroes and Citizens Act of 2010” to prevent groups like the Westboro Baptists from protesting at military funerals. Josh Blackman, President of the Harlan Institute, chatted with Zak about protests at funeral, Snyder v. Phelps, and the First Amendment. Popout Download the podcast here.
Original audio source (Parker.mp3)

Snyder v. Phelps Inspires HS Senior to Take Action

January 7, 2011
Inspired by a history class project and the events leading Snyder v. Phelps to the Supreme Court, high school senior Zach Parker is using the legislative process to ban protests from military funerals.
BELFAST, Maine – It started out as a class history project for 17-year-old Searsport Regional High School student Zach Parker, but the more he learned, the more infuriated he became. How could a church picket funerals of dead soldiers? Parker said he has an uncle in the National Guard who might be deployed next year. “I can’t even think about if I had to lay him to rest for the last time and I’d have to deal with these people,” he said. The people are the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas congregation that has made a name for itself by protesting at soldiers’ funerals across the country. Parker wants to stop them. The student is working on a plan to propose federal legislation to ban all protests at military funerals. Three federal laws and laws in at least 40 states, including Maine, limit protests near military funerals, but they do not prevent them. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard arguments against the church’s actions and is expected to rule on it next year.
Parker’s legislation, entitled “Respect for Fallen Heroes and Citizens Act of 2010,” reads: “No person shall protest including taunting, or showing any public display of disapproval one clock hour from the beginning and end of a funeral, burial or memorial service, and may not enter within three-hundred feet of the grounds.” On Wednesday, Parker presented his history project to the public:
The Searsport event began a little like a patriotic pep rally and included a prayer to honor all veterans, a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a video featuring footage of dusty Middle East war zones. Many of the people in attendance said that Parker’s goal of keeping funerals free of people who would taunt, insult or annoy mourning family and friends sounded just about right to them. “The First Amendment is not an absolute,” said Charliy Michaud of Searsport. “There’s a certain level of common sense. I think it’s a wonderful idea, and I hope it works.” Danny Bowden of Bangor came down with several other members of The Exiles, a Maine-based motorcycle group. “I wanted to support this kid and this bill, because it’s not right to protest at any funeral, really, and especially our military funerals,” he said.
Although only 17, Parker’s legislation is receiving national attention, from U.S. Senators and Representatives toFox News. When asked by Fox & Friends co-host Dave Briggs on the message sent by his actions, Parkerresponded:
“I can tell you not to underestimate any project you’re given,” he said. “I certainly never expected to be on national news for this. This was just a small-town project and has turned out to be a national phenomenon.”
On that note, Parker’s history teacher is beaming with pride:
“I asked them to find something they’re interested in and become active. What would you do? Some take it to the extreme, which Zach did — it’s his personality,” said Parker’s history teacher, Gail Anthonis. “I think it’s a great way for kids to learn to be politically involved. They may be 17 or 18 years old, but they can do something. They can be heard.”
Harlan’s FantasySCOTUS asks students to examine Snyder v. Phelps, and think about these same issues. The Supreme Court is faced with a very real, relevant, and personal question – does the First Amendment protect the right of protesters to display signs containing offensive messages near funerals of fallen military service members? Please visit our site to sign up your classroom and download the lesson plan for your class on this issue. Parker’s interview on the Fox News morning show, Fox & Friends: Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com