Dear Delegates of HMCSF,
Welcome to Harvard Model Congress San Francisco 2019! We, Melvin Woo and Jacob Licht, will be your chairs for the amazing Supreme Court special programs committee!
The Supreme Court, also known as SCOTUS, is certainly a unique (and arguably the best) committee at Harvard Model Congress. All of you will be bestowed the title of Supreme Court Justice, the highest judicial seat in the United States. As those who decide the nation’s legal precedents, it is up to all of you to deeply contemplate and rigorously debate the newest legal dilemmas of the nation. Throughout the conference you will get the chance to serve as appellate lawyers, appellees, and justices. In certain trials you will intensely defend your legal position by using various Supreme Court common law or distinguishing this particular case from all others. At other points, you may serve as a justice, listening to every argument made by both sides and use your best judgment and jurisprudence to come to a ruling.
As always, you will be given several cases in which your job is to either argue as appellate or appellee, or to adjudicate as justices. One of our cases will be concerning the limits of US jurisdiction in matters regarding foreign individuals and entities, particularly when international law and human rights are involved. You will have to decide whether a foreign bank accused of funding terrorist activities can be held responsible by the US Supreme Court. Second, we explore the intersection and/or conflict between the freedom of religion and certain practices of discrimination by contemplating the case of denying a same sex couple a wedding cake. Lastly, we discuss a case centered around the longstanding dispute on affirmative action, and whether certain practices involve race-based discrimination that violates the 14th amendment.
We hope that you are as excited for these topics as we are, and we hope this excitement encourages you to come prepared with ideas on how we can solve these problems. Using the briefings we provide as a starting point, we expect you to be familiar with and informed on all of the briefing topics. Make sure you are clear on what the case is about, what both sides are arguing, and familiarize yourself with the previous court cases given. Although you may do research to find good arguments and defenses, you MAY NOT USE any outside court cases or obscure facts that are not discussed in the briefings to ensure fairness during the conference. Furthermore, you are strongly encouraged to read the Supreme Court Guide in order to become more familiar with how the actual conference and oral arguments will look like.
Our hope is that you will come into this conference eager to think through and debate these difficult legal questions, and end the conference being more confident and more knowledgeable about various legal thoughts and the American judicial system as a whole. We hope that you are as excited as we are and we can’t wait to see you at the conference!
All the best,
Melvin Woo and Jacob Licht