Courts: Judicial Branch

Students who take part in the Courts program will experience the appeal process of the Appellate Division of the New Jersey judiciary, and experience Constitutionality Debate on legislation as done in the Supreme Court.

What does it mean to be a Courts Advocate?

Students will engage in an eloquent debate, rife with passionate appeals and intelligent arguments, regarding the conclusion of both styles of cases.

Advocates will be demarcated into teams of three to four people, typically with other members of their school. All teams will present both select Appellate cases during the Conference Weekend, as well as deliberate on other cases. The presentation of a case requires that the teams of advocates collaborate on a brief, which is to be completed by a particular due date given by the Chief Justices at Pre-Leg. Additionally, these teams will present an oral argument before the court, in favor of the side assigned to them during Pre-Leg.

The deliberation portion of Conference will require that advocates hear the arguments of a case, question the attorneys presenting the case, and then argue between themselves as to the conclusion. Advocates are not required to state Parli-Pro and instead can talk when they feel ready without any motion in advance. The teams which are presenting will be sequestered during the deliberations, and will remain outside of the courtroom until a decision has been made.

In select appellate cases, a Lobbyist will be selected to serve as an Amicus Curiae. The function of the Amicus Curiae is to provide external opinions in order to ensure that a favorable precedent is set. The presentations made by the Amicus Curiae will be truncated versions of those given by the attorneys. The pre-Conference assignment will be a position statement, that is to serve as the “brief” for the Amicus Curiae, outlining the specifics of their position and its relation to the case as a whole. 

Advocates will also be deliberating the constitutionality of certain bills. Time will be allotted for both research as well as the preparation of arguments based on the specific challenge to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation. Following the presentation of each argument, in a slightly truncated fashion, Chief Justices will deliberate on the bill’s constitutionality. The decision made by the Justices is final and will stop the progression of a bill into law.

Important Upcoming Dates

March 1, 2020 | Pre-Legislative Session
March 16, 2020| Brief Due
April 3-5, 2020 | Conference