Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic

Faculty

David A. Strauss
Sarah Konsky

Jenner & Block 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.

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 clinics casesfrom 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 and 2017 U.S. Supreme Court Terms, the clinic represented parties in five U.S. Supreme Court cases and represented amici curiae in five U.S. Supreme Court cases:

Merits Representations

  • Artis v. District of Columbia, co-counsel for Petitioner Stephanie C. Artis.  At issue was how to calculate the statute of limitations when state-law claims initially are filed in federal court, but then are dismissed by the federal court because it declines to exercise jurisdiction.  The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ms. Artis, holding that the applicable federal statute “stops the clock” on the limitations period for the state-law claims while they are pending in federal court. 
  • Honeycutt v. United States, co-counsel for Petitioner Terry M. HoneycuttThe 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 circumstancesThe Court rejected the governments 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. KokeshThe 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 profitsThe Court rejected the governments view that there is no statute of limitations applicable to disgorgement claims
  • Manuel v. City of Joliet, co-counsel for Respondent City of JolietThe case centered on the relationship between the tort of malicious prosecution and the Fourth AmendmentThe Supreme Court majority decision did not reach that questionIt 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. 
  • Marinello v. United States, co-counsel for Petitioner Carlo J. Marinello II.  At issue was the scope of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a), which makes it a felony to “corruptly or by force or threats of force . . . obstruct or impede, or endeavor to obstruct or impede, the due administration” of the Internal Revenue Code.  The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. Marinello, holding that this provision requires the federal government to prove the defendant was aware of a pending tax-related proceeding, such as a particular investigation or audit, or could reasonably foresee that such a proceeding would commence.

Amicus Representations

  • Ayestas v. Davis, amicus curiae brief in support of the petitioner.  The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the position taken by the clinic in the case, holding that the lower court applied the wrong standard in denying the capital habeas petitioner’s request for funding for investigative and expert resources during his federal post-conviction proceedings.  The clinic’s brief explained that access to such investigative and expert resources during federal post-conviction proceedings is often essential to vindicating a meritorious claim and avoiding the imposition of an unconstitutional death sentence. 
  • Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, amicus curiae brief in support of the petitionerA 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 childs 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.
  • Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, amicus curiae brief in support of the respondents.  At issue was whether the Supreme Court should overrule its prior precedent and hold that Illinois’ public-sector “agency shop” arrangement violated the First Amendment.  The clinic’s brief argued that doing so would undermine one of the most important vehicles for providing economic and professional opportunities for workers in the United States—and, in particular, for workers who are women and people of color.  In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overruled its prior precedent and held that Illinois’ “agency shop” arrangement violated the First Amendment. 
  • Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, amicus curiae brief in support of the petitionerA 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.
  • Trump v. Hawaii, amicus curiae brief in support of the respondents.  At issue was Presidential Proclamation 9645, sometimes referred to as the “travel ban.”  The clinic’s brief responded to the government’s argument that the respondents’ challenge was unreviewable by the courts.  As the clinic’s brief explained, the history of the doctrine of consular non-reviewability and the Supreme Court’s cases demonstrate that the courts have consistently been open for these sorts of claims—and holding them unreviewable therefore would represent a marked and unwarranted change in the law.  In its 5-4 ruling in the case, the Supreme Court declined to rule on this issue, assuming without deciding for purposes of the opinion that the respondents’ claims were reviewable.

The clinic also filed petitions for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2016 and 2017 Terms.

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 from time to time.  In 2017, 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.  In 2018, the clinic represented petitioners-appellees in habeas corpus appeals before the Seventh Circuit.

As a law clinic, one of the clinic’s primary goals is to teach students to be effective appellate advocates at the highest levels of practice.  Students learn by “doing,” but also by working closely with the clinic’s faculty members and other students. 

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.