Moot court is a role play of an appeals court or Supreme Court hearing. The court, composed of a panel of justices, is asked to rule on a lower court's decision. No witnesses are called. Nor are the basic facts in a case disputed. Arguments are prepared and presented on a legal question (e.g., the constitutionality of a law or government action). Since moot courts are not concerned with the credibility of witnesses, they are an effective strategy for focusing student attention on the underlying principles and concepts of justice. At Crossroads College Prep, our Moot Court is virtual. We use discussion forums as the primary vehicle for our arguments.
Special thanks to Landmarkcases.org, Street Law, and the Supreme Court Historical Society for making this effort possible.
Your Cooperative Group will be assigned a case from the list below. You must complete the assignments (answer ALL questions) linked below your case in addition to answering the following case questions:
What happened in this case?
Who are the parties?
What facts are important? Unimportant?
Is any significant information missing?
Why did the people involved act the way they did?
Conduct any additional research needed to complete the questions above.
Marbury v Madison
Scott v Sandford
Brown v Board
Plessy v Ferguson
Korematsu v USA
California v Bakke
Arguing the Case
Once you have completed the previous activities you are ready for court. You will be assigned as either the Petitioner or Respondent.
- Petitioner/Appellant: The person/organization/company who appeals the lower court decision to a higher court.
- Respondent/Appellee: The person/organization/company who argues that the lower court decisions were correct.
Each team of litigants should meet to prepare arguments for its side of the case. Each member of the team should present arguments to the court by posting in the discussion forum. When discussing the arguments, students should consider:
What does each side (party) want?
What are the arguments in favor of and against each side?
Which arguments are the most persuasive? Why?
What are the legal precedents and how do they influence this case? (A precedent is a previously decided case recognized as the authority for future cases on that issue. Using precedents allows for the development of more sophisticated arguments.)
What might be the consequences of each possible decision? To each side? To society?
Are there any alternatives besides what each side is demanding?