Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic

Faculty

David A. Strauss
Sarah Konsky

Jenner & Block Co-Director

Matthew S. Hellman

The Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic represents parties and amici curiae in cases before the United States Supreme Court and other appellate courts.

Students gain in-depth, hands-on experience in U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate cases, under the supervision of faculty members and members of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice group at Jenner & Block.  Students work on all aspects of the clinic’s cases – from formulating case strategy; to researching and writing merits briefs, amicus curiae briefs, and petitions for certiorari; to preparing for oral arguments.  Students also conduct research on cases that may be suitable to bring to the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court Term, the clinic represented parties in three U.S. Supreme Court cases and represented amicus curiae in two U.S. Supreme Court cases:

  • Honeycutt v. United States, co-counsel for Petitioner Terry M. Honeycutt. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Mr. Honeycutt, holding that federal criminal asset forfeiture statutes apply only to property a defendant actually acquired as the result of the crime, or to substitute property under narrowly defined circumstances. The Court rejected the government’s argument that members of a criminal conspiracy are subject to joint and several liability for forfeiture.
  • Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, co-counsel for Petitioner Charles R. Kokesh. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Mr. Kokesh, holding that the five-year statute of limitations in a general federal statute governing penalties applies to SEC claims seeking disgorgement of illegally obtained profits. The Court rejected the government’s view that there is no statute of limitations applicable to disgorgement claims.
  • Manuel v. City of Joliet, co-counsel for Respondent City of Joliet. The case centered on the relationship between the tort of malicious prosecution and the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court majority decision did not reach that question. It instead acknowledged that a Fourth Amendment claim could survive the initiation of legal process in a case, and remanded the case to the Seventh Circuit to determine the parameters of such a claim—including when it accrues—in the first instance.
  • Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, amicus curiae brief on behalf of 118 members of the United States Congress. A majority of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the position taken by the clinic in the case, holding that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires a school to offer an individualized education program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. The clinic’s brief argued that this Act was meant to “consistently and clearly” raise expectations for the quality of education provided to students with disabilities.
  • Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, amicus curiae brief on behalf of the National Association of Federal Defenders. A majority of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the position taken by the clinic in the case, holding that when a juror makes a clear statement indicating that he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant, a rule prohibiting jurors from impeaching their verdicts must yield to the Sixth Amendment, so that the trial court can consider the evidence of the juror's statement and any resulting Sixth Amendment violation. The clinic’s brief argued that there is a long history of allowing jurors to impeach their verdicts to ensure fairness.

The clinic also filed two petitions for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2016 Term.

Although the clinic’s primary focus is the U.S. Supreme Court, the clinic may also handle cases at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Illinois Supreme Court, and other appellate courts.  During the 2016-2017 academic year, the clinic represented a defendant-appellant in a direct appeal of a criminal case to the Seventh Circuit.  One of the clinic’s students argued the case before the Seventh Circuit.

U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice (LAWS 50311) is a required co-requisite for 2L and 3L students participating in the clinic.  Students who have successfully completed a course covering content comparable to the U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice seminar may seek consent from Professor Konsky to waive the co-requisite requirement.  Academic credit for the clinic varies and is awarded according to the Law School's general criteria for clinical courses and by the approval of the clinical faculty.