students will step into the shoes minds of the current court and render their own court opinion for the case based on our course material students will choose to represent either the petitioner or respondent

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FSE 280 – Assignment 3

ASSIGNMENT #3: Law in Action Assignment

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for ______________ on _____________ 2017. The question presented to the Court is: ______________________________________ ___________. The Court is expected to hand down its opinion on the case in ___________ or ___________.

In the meantime, students will step into the “shoes”/minds of the current Court and render their own Court Opinion for the case based on our course material. A transcript of the oral arguments can be found at Also visit to obtain an overview of the involved case. Students will choose to represent either the Petitioner or Respondent. The briefs of the Petitioner and/or Respondent can also be found at Students will review the transcript of the oral arguments and identify the crucial legal issues represented before the Court. Students should focus on the types of arguments put forth by the attorney(s) and identify the issues the Justices raised during their questioning of counsel. Finally, all students will prepare a 2-3 page single-spaced “Court Opinion” outlining the above noted issues raised during the oral arguments, applying relevant precedent, and handing down a decision on the case.





Example FSE 280 – Assignment 3

EXAMPLE: [Beckles v. United States

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term

15-8544 11th Cir. Nov 28, 2016 TBD TBD TBD OT 2016

Issue: (1) Whether Johnson v. United States applies retroactively to collateral cases challenging federal sentences enhanced under the residual clause in United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) § 4B1.2(a)(2) (defining “crime of violence”); (2) whether Johnson’s constitutional holding applies to the residual clause in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2), thereby rendering challenges to sentences enhanced under it

cognizable on collateral review; and (3) whether mere possession of a sawed-off shotgun, an offense listed as a “crime of violence” only in commentary to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2, remains a “crime of violence” after Johnson.

Nora Demleitner Guest

Posted Mon, November 21st, 2016 10:05 am Email Nora

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Argument preview: Court to tackle constitutionality of residual clause in sentencing guidelines

In 2015, in Johnson v. United States, the Supreme Court struck down the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminals Act (ACCA) as unconstitutionally vague, ruling that the provision did not give ordinary people adequate notice of what conduct was prohibited by the statute. The residual clause had included among the category of “violent felonies” any felony that “otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.” Next week, in Beckles v. United States, the court will confront the constitutionality of the sentencing guidelines’ version of the residual clause. This is one of

two cases this term that address the effect of Johnson on the vagueness doctrine. (The other case, Lynch v. Dimaya, arises in a statutory context.) Two of the nine justices who joined in the six-justice majority opinion in Johnson, including its author – the late Justice Antonin Scalia – will not participate in this

case. Because Justice Elena Kagan is recused, a seven-member court will render a decision. ***]

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