William & Mary

Law School hosts annual Supreme Court Preview

  • Supreme Court Preview 2014
    Supreme Court Preview 2014  During the Supreme Court Preview's opening Moot Court session, the court heard arguments from Michael A. Scodro of Jenner & Block, regarding the upcoming case, King v. Sebelius.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Supreme Court Preview 2014
    Supreme Court Preview 2014  Journalist, author, and lawyer Joan Biskupic and W&M Law School's Allison Orr Larsen and Tara Grove served as three of the Supreme Court judges during the Moot Court session.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Supreme Court Preview 2014
    Supreme Court Preview 2014  Irving Gornstein (Georgetown Law), and Patricia Millett (U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit), served on a panel discussing civil rights.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Supreme Court Preview 2014
    Supreme Court Preview 2014  Andrew Pincus (Mayer Brown, at left), Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, U Cal, Irvine School of Law), Joan Biskupic (Reuters), and Gregory Garre (Latham & Watkins) took part in a lunchtime breakout session on "Liberalism on the Roberts Court."  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Supreme Court Preview 2014
    Supreme Court Preview 2014  Tim Zick (W&M Law School) and Paul Smith (Jenner & Block) participated in a panel on the First Amendment.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Supreme Court Preview 2014
    Supreme Court Preview 2014  Neal Katyal (Hogan Lovells), Paul Clement (Bancroft), and Walter Dellinger (O'Melveny & Myers) served on a panel on Congress and the Obama White House.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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Just weeks before the Supreme Court convenes its 2014 term, legal scholars, judges, lawyers and legal journalists from across the country came together on Sept. 19-20 at William & Mary Law School to examine cases on the docket for the Court's upcoming term. Hosted by the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL), the Supreme Court Preview is one of the Law School's preeminent annual events.

The two-day conference commenced with a Moot Court session, followed by expert panels focusing on different areas of the law.

"It was a remarkable mix of Supreme Court advocates," said Neal Devins, Goodrich Professor of Law and director of IBRL. "The business panel kicked off with three different lawyers (two of whom were former solicitors general) discussing cases they were litigating before the Court. The panel on same-sex marriage featured two lawyers who have petitions before the Court, and it was fantastic to hear them debate why they thought their respective case was the better one to get to the Court. There is simply no substitute for hearing the lawyers arguing before the Court discussing their cases. That happened repeatedly at this Preview."

Underscoring Devins's point, participants this year included 15 advocates who have argued more than 350 cases before the Supreme Court (and will argue about a half dozen more in the upcoming term), three former solicitors general, two federal appellate judges, journalists, and renowned scholars of law, including five Law School faculty members.

This year's Moot Court case, a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, offered "an insightful look into the workings of Supreme Court debate," according to first-year law student Emily Gabor. After hearing arguments from advocates Michael Scodro (of Jenner & Block LLP and a former Illinois solicitor general) and Andrew Pincus (of Mayer Brown LLP and an attorney who has argued 23 cases before the Supreme Court to date), the "Court" delivered a narrow 5-4 decision upholding the contested provisions of the health care reform law. "The advocates only made it a few sentences into their opening statements before being peppered with questions from the judges. I learned a lot about the vigor and strength of arguments required of attorneys fighting for an issue at that level," Gabor added.

The Supreme Court's 2014 term begins on Monday, October 6.