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Table of Contents

Mock Supreme Court

  • Case 
  • Roles
    • Nine justices
    • Eight lawyers
    • Two reporters
  • Assignments
    • Each justice will research all aspects of the case, read briefs, listen to arguments from each side, ask questions of the lawyers during oral arguments, briefly discuss the case, and write a formal opinion.
    • Each lawyer will research various aspects of the case, write a brief supporting his or her position, and argue that position before the court.
    • The reporters will research all aspects of the case, observe the oral arguments, and write an article about the case after the opinions have been written.
  • Activities and Dates
    • February 24 & 25 - Research
    • February 26 - Briefs Due
      • Make copies for everyone
    • February 27 and 28 - Oral Arguments
      • Twenty minutes per side
    • March 3 - Opinions Due
      • Make copies for everyone
    • March 4 - Article Due
      • Make copies for everyone


  • 1619
  • 1789
  • 1791
  • 1800
  • 1831
  • 1838
  • 1848
  • 1852
  • 1857
  • 1860
  • 1861
  • 1863
  • 1865
  • 1866
  • 1868
  • 1870
    • Fifteenth Amendment ratified.
    • The first "Jim Crow" or segregation law is passed in Tennessee mandating the separation of African Americans from whites on trains, in depots and wharves.
    • In Wyoming Mrs. Louisa Swain becomes the first woman to cast a legal ballot, in the nation. 
    • The Rev. Hiram R. Revels (R-MISS) and Joseph H. Rainey (R-S.C.) become first African Americans to sit in Congress. 
    • Union Pacific announces it will hire Chinese laborers at $32.50 a month rather than pay whites $52.
  • 1876
    • Battle of Little Big Horn is an outgrowth of continued U.S. violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty as white settlers flock to the sacred Black Hills seeking gold.
    • Congress passes the first Civil Rights Act, guaranteeing African Americans equal rights in transportation, restaurant/inns, theaters and on juries.
  • 1877
    • With the election of Rutherford B. Hayes as President, Reconstruction is brought to an end and most federal troops are withdrawn from the South while those remaining do nothing to protect the rights of African Americans. The return of "home rule" to the former secessionist states also means the restoration of white supremacy and the beginning of the disenfranchisement and segregation of African Americans.
  • 1882
    • Over the veto of President Chester Arthur, Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act restricting the immigration of all Chinese laborers for 10 years and requiring Chinese to carry identification cards. In 1892 the act is extended for another 10 years.
  • 1883
  • 1888
    • Congress passes the Scott Act prohibiting resident Chinese laborers who leave the united States from returning unless they have family in the country.
  • 1890
    • In the Battle of Wounded Knee, U.S. troops kill 200 Dakota Indian men, women, and children in the last conflict of the so-called "Indian Wars."
    • In Mississippi, a state constitutional convention meets to write a suffrage amendment, including a poll tax and a literacy test designed -successfully- to exclude African Americans from voting. South Carolina follows suit in 1895, Louisiana in 1898. By 1910, African Americans are effectively barred from voting by constitutional provisions in North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, and Oklahoma as well.
    • The Woman Suffrage Amendment is introduced in Congress for the first time but defeated.
    • Treaty with China allows unrestricted immigration of Chinese into the country, primarily as laborers on railroads in the West
  • 1892
    • Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibiting further Chinese immigration into the United States for ten years.
  • 1896
    • The Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, rules that state laws requiring separation of the races are within the bounds of the Constitution as long as equal accommodations are made for African Americans, thus establishing the "separate but equal" doctrine that justifies legal segregation in the South. Justice John Harlan, in lone dissent, says Constitution is "colorblind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens."
  • 1900
    • Lynching has become virtually a fact of life as a means for intimidating African Americans. Between 1886 and 1900, there are more than 2,500 lynchings in the nation, the vast majority in the Deep South. In the first year of the new century, more than 100 African Americans are lynched, and by World War I, more than 1100.
  • 1909
  • 1910
    • The Mexican Revolution brings an influx of immigrants to the United States looking for work.
  • 1912
    • The Mexican ambassador formally protests the mistreatment of Mexicans in the United States, citing a number of brutal lynchings and murders.
  • 1916
    • Rep. Jeannette Rankin (R-Mont.) Becomes first woman elected to Congress.
  • 1917
    • The Jones Act grants full citizenship to Puerto Ricans and gives them the right to travel freely to the continental United States. However, because Puerto Rico is not a state, like citizens in the District of Columbia, Puerto Ricans are represented in Congress by a delegate with only limited powers and are unrepresented in the Senate.
  • 1920
  • 1922
    • In Ozawa v. United States, the Supreme Court denies Japanese residents the right to naturalization because they are "ineligible for citizenship," as are foreign-born Chinese. 
    • In Congress, the Cable Act declares that " any woman citizen who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship, shall cease to be a citizen."
  • 1924
    • After 10,000 Native American soldiers in World War I, Congress passes the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, granting American citizenship to Native Americans. Several Indian nations, including the Hopi and the Iroquois, decline citizenship in favor of retaining sovereign nationhood.
  • 1928
  • 1930
  • 1939
    • African American contralto, Marian Anderson, barred by the Daughters of the American Revolution from singing in Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall, sings instead to a crowd of 75,000 people at Lincoln Memorial.
    • The Legal Defense Fund established as the legislative arm of the NAACP. A year later the two become separate organizations.
  • 1941
  • 1942
    • U.S. government places in barbed wire encircled "relocation camps" some 110,000 Japanese Americans. Guards are ordered to shoot anyone seeking to leave.
    • The Bracero Program, created under a joint U.S.-Mexico agreement, permits Mexican nationals to work in U.S. agricultural areas on a temporary basis and at wages lower than domestic workers.
  • 1943
    • Congress, seeking to reward China for becoming an ally in the war against Germany and Japan, repeals all previous Asian Exclusion Acts and establishes an annual quota of 105 Chinese émigrés to the United States each year.
  • 1947
    • Jackie Robinson becomes first African American to play major league baseball.
  • 1948
  • 1952
    • Tuskegee Institute reports that, for the first time in the 71 years it has been keeping records, there were no lynchings of African Americans during the year.
  • 1954
    • In Brown v. Board of Education, the decision widely regarded as having sparked the modern civil rights era, the Supreme Court rules deliberate public school segregation illegal, effectively overturning "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. Chief Justice Earl Warren, writing for a unanimous Court, notes that to segregate children by race "generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone." Thurgood Marshall heads the NAACP/Legal Defense Fund team winning the ruling.
    • Hernandez v. Texas becomes the first Mexican American discrimination case to reach the Supreme Court. The case involves a murder conviction by a jury that includes no Latinos. Chief Justice Earl Warren holds persons of Mexican descent are "persons of a distinct class" entitled to the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Other Chronologies

The Law

Supreme Court Cases

Affirmative Action

January 27, 2003 Issue Cover Package: Bush and Affirmative Action
•  Spinning Race
•  What's At Stake
•  Pro: Diversity Is Essential...
•  Con: ... But Not at This Cost
•  Affirmative Access: Making the Grade
•  Jonathan Alter: What Merit Really Means
Web Exclusives:
•  Business As Usual at Michigan
•  Eleanor Clift: A Matter of Principle
•  Newsweek Poll: Bush Loses Ground


  • Pending Cases

Tuesday, April 1

Barbara Grutter v. Lee Bollinger, et al.
No. 02-241


  1. Does the University of Michigan Law School's use of racial preferences in student admissions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000d), or 42 U.S.C. § 1981?
  2. Should an appellate court required to apply strict scrutiny to governmental race-based preferences review de novo the district court's findings because the fact issues are "constitutional"?



  • Petitioner (Petition) [PDF] [TEXT]
  • Respondent Bollinger, et al. - Opposition (Petition) [PDF] [TEXT]
  • Petitioner - Reply (Petition) [PDF]

    Amicus - Petitioner
  • Center for Equal Opportunity, et al. (Petition) [PDF]
  • Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (Petition) [PDF]
  • Pacific Legal Foundation (Petition) [PDF]

  • Center for the Advancement of Capitalism (Merits) [PDF]
  • Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (Merits) [PDF]
  • United States (Merits) [PDF] [TEXT] [RTF]


Jennifer Gratz, et al. v. Lee Bollinger, et al.
No. 02-516


Question: Decisions:



  • Petitioners (Petition) [PDF]
  • Respondents - Conditional Opposition (Petition) [PDF]
  • Petitioners - Reply (Petition) [PDF]

    Amicus - Petitioner
  • Center for the Advancement of Capitalism (Merits) [PDF]
  • Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (Merits) [PDF]
  • Pacific Legal Foundation (Merits) [PDF]
  • United States (Merits) [PDF] [TEXT] [RTF]


U.S. Supreme Court Opinions

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