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Your assignment is to listen to the oral argument of the attorneys before the court for District of Columbia v Heller, 554 US 570 (2008) then write a one page double-spaced opinion paper on your impression. Did the attorneys argue their point well? Did one do better than the other? Were they able to get their statement out without being interrupted? Which Justice was dominant? Was it clear from what direction they were asking – conservative? liberal? Did they seem to take sides? Next you are to read the short brief from oyez to see exactly what the holding was for the case and which Justices were in the majority or dissent. Was this how you thought they would rule? Finally, look at the background to see what implications this case might have after you finish your paper.

The oral argument and brief for District of Columbia v Heller, 554 US 570 (2008) can be found at Oyez. ( background and details can be found at Scotusblog. (

Remember, I am looking for your impressions of the workings of the Court, not your opinion on the holding! You should only use the sources given for this assignment. The only source on the submission should be the oral argument for the case itself.

Please see the rubric below:




Synthesis of Knowledge:

Paper cohesively links legal concepts and learning objectives to the case. Student demonstrates critical understanding of the legal concepts and its relation to the workings of the Court.


Application of Knowledge:

Student establishes connections to the arguments by the attorneys and the political leanings of the Justices. Student addresses the interactions between the Justices and the attorneys and the impact on their arguments. The paper ends with a prediction on how the case will be decided prior to reading the decision.


Writing and Research Skill:

Student effectively communicates policy concepts and ideas. Paper follows APA formatting and style guidelines. Paper is grammatically correct, free of spelling errors and has an introduction, logical body, and summary.


District of Columbia v Heller, 554 US 570 (2008)
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