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February 17, 2005

Judging the Ten Commandments at Harvard

On March 2 the Supreme Court will hear two cases in which the constitutionality of public displays of the Ten Commandments is at issue.  The lawyers challenging the displays' constitutionality will be at Harvard Law School this Friday (Feb. 18) for a moot court session, and I've been invited to serve as one of the judges on the panel.  The session begins at 2:30 pm at Austin Hall on the Harvard Law School campus, and it is open to the public.

You can read the briefs in the two cases (Van Orden v. Perry and McCreary County v. ACLU) here.

UPDATE and PREDICTION: The moot court was a lot of fun, and there were a couple of hundred students in attendance.  The panel consisted of six "judges," five of whom (the exception being yours truly) were law professors (two Harvard faculty, two visiting Harvard from other institutions, and one BU faculty).  Put on the spot to predict how the actual Supreme Court will come out on these cases, our panel voted 6-0 that the Ten Commandments display would be upheld in Van Orden, and 4-2 that it would be struck down in McCreary County.  My own guess is that Van Orden will be 6-3 or 7-2 (Stevens, Ginsburg, and maybe Souter dissenting) in favor of upholding the Ten Commandments display, and that McCreary County will be 6-3 (Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas dissenting) in favor of holding the display unconstitutional.

Posted by David at 10:43 AM in Law and Lawyers, Massachusetts | Permalink

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