Incourt: Using a Virtual Supreme Court to Enhance the Traditional Simulation Experience

28 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2012 Last revised: 21 Feb 2012

See all articles by Daniel E. Smith

Daniel E. Smith

Northwest Missouri State University

Date Written: 2012


Moot court simulations are widely used in undergraduate courses in Constitutional Law. In such simulations students are required to complete various tasks: brief cases in anticipation of the simulation, draft appellate briefs and/or outlines, present oral arguments, serve as judges questioning advocates, draft judicial opinions, and complete written or verbal debriefing exercises. These simulations are adaptable to multiple courses and may serve numerous pedagogical goals, most commonly creating an environment for rigorous discussion and debate of legal doctrine; role-playing to develop critical thinking and communications skills; confronting alternative points of view in a case study environment; and teaching/reinforcing judicial politics by embedding students in the judicial decision-making process. As a veteran user of moot courts in upper division courses, I have experimented with a variety of simulation formats, and have been gradually progressing from a more traditional “classroom with the occasional simulation” format to a more simulation-driven course in which students regularly engage in role playing.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Daniel E., Incourt: Using a Virtual Supreme Court to Enhance the Traditional Simulation Experience (2012). APSA 2012 Teaching & Learning Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Daniel E. Smith (Contact Author)

Northwest Missouri State University ( email )

Maryville, MO 64468
United States

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