Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

Courses M - S

181: Supreme Court Seminar

Credit Hours



The aim of this seminar is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the Supreme Court of the United States, its personnel and work, and the important role it plays in American government and society. Students will consider the processes by which Justices are appointed to the Court; the standards and processes the Court uses to choose cases for review and decision on the merits from among the multitude decided each year by the lower courts, leading to the creation of precedents of national applicability; the ways in which advocates endeavor to persuade the Court that it should (or should not) grant review in a particular case; and the ways in which the so-called “merits cases” (those in which review has been granted) are briefed, argued, and decided. A substantial part of the semester will be devoted to the study of a small number of cases currently pending before the Court, either as candidates for review or for decision on the merits. Students will learn about the work of the Court by studying briefs that were actually filed and transcripts or recordings of oral arguments. The class will also discuss cases by simulating the Court’s conference. Students will be required to write a series of short papers and a judicial opinion in one of the merits cases to be discussed. (Sullivan)