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Moot Court: Appealing the Ford Transit Connect and Snuggie Decisions

Jurisdiction of the US Court of International Trade


“The court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction of certain civil actions brought by the United States under
the laws governing import transactions, as well as counterclaims, cross-claims, and third-party actions
relating to actions pending in the court … Appeals from final decisions of the court may be taken to the United
States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
(Retrieved from https://www.cit.uscourts.gov/AboutTheCourt.html.)
We will conduct a moot court for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in which the U.S. Customs
and Border Patrol appeals the decision of the US Court for International Trade’s ruling regarding the Snuggie
and Ford.

A moot court is a role play of an appeals court or Supreme Court hearing. The court, composed of a panel of
justices, is asked to rule on a lower court's decision. No witnesses are called. Nor are the basic facts in a case
disputed. Arguments are prepared and presented on a legal question. Since moot courts are not concerned
with the credibility of witnesses, they are an effective strategy for focusing attention on the
underlying principles and concepts of justice. Please note: you will be graded for both your preparation
and participation. Good luck!

CBP v. Allstar CBP v. Allstar CBP v. Ford CBP v. Ford Judges


Marketing Marketing
Group Group
(Snuggie) (Snuggie)

Lawyers for Lawyers for Lawyers for Lawyers for


Petitioner Respondents Petitioner Respondents
(CBP) (Allstar M.G.) (CBP) (Ford)

1st Period

Will Mia Vedika Alex Kaitlin, Chelsea, Allison, Kyle A, Carly,


Emma Ben Paige Philipp Zaine, James, Kyle L, Leo, Dahlen, Alex,
Kaden, Ashmi

2nd Period

Meredith Julia Tori Jake Brian, Shriya, Dari, Ashley B, Mustafi,


Pranav Charlotte Katie Sarah Rohan, Ashley J, Abdulsalam, Ashley D,
Julia, Cam, Ferras, Sidra, Jack, Anna

3rd Period

Jack Jessica Joe Zach R Colin, Ankita, Duncan, Scout, John, Zack
Saloni Sidd Sofia Turner D, Lexi, Drew, Aelex, Dio, Rory, JP, Addy,
Robert
4th Period

CBP v. Allstar CBP v. Allstar CBP v. Ford CBP v. Ford Judges


Marketing Marketing
Group Group
(Snuggie) (Snuggie)

Lawyers for Lawyers for Lawyers for Lawyers for


Petitioner Respondents Petitioner Respondents
(CBP) (Allstar M.G.) (CBP) (Ford)

Sarah BJ Kit Hannah Remi, Jack, David, Emma, Amber,


James Divya Charlie Madhu Jonathan, BJ, Harrison, Brian, Margaret,
Adi, Elizabeth, Alexander, Emily, Ashley

I. Resources to Use (All Students)


1. Washington Post article covering Snuggie, Ford, and other tariffs (a must-read):
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/06/why-a-weird-legal-
dispute-about-whether-the-snuggie-is-a-blanket-actually-matters-a-
lot/?utm_term=.f2d9bac5a61b
2. NPR discussion of the Snuggie ruling:
https://www.npr.org/2017/03/30/522015696/how-the-case-of-the-snuggie-impacts-
tariffs-and-trade
3. Summary of Court ruling on Ford in 2017 https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-
tariff-engineering-court-decision-Ford-vans-082417.html
4. Summary of Court ruling on Toilet Paper holders in 2018:
https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-cit-toilet-paper-classification-031218.html
5. Motorcycle Tariff from the 1980s: https://www.nytimes.com/1983/04/02/business/us-
raises-tariff-for-motorcycles.html
6. Ruling on Halloween Costumes in 2015:
https://www.nytimes.com/1983/04/02/business/us-raises-tariff-for-motorcycles.html
7. Google around and see what else you can find on tariff engineering, the Ford Transit
Connect, and the Snuggie. The more you read, the more you’ll understand.

II. The Tasks Before You


Rubric for Lawyers

Quality use of designated research time 5

Opening Statements: due at beginning of class 5

Theme of your position, with clear references during the oral arguments 10

List of arguments for your position: due at the beginning of class 10


Presentation of main arguments, constitutional issues, precedents involved and 20
how they affect your cases; how you answer the justices’ questions to present
your case

TOTAL 50

Rubric for Judges

Quality use of designated research time 5

3-5 bullet points of main arguments for EACH SIDE: CBP, Snuggie, Ford--due at 5
the beginning of class

3 well-thought out, penetrating questions for each side for both cases--due at the 10
beginning of class

Active questioning and follow-up questions during the hearing. Your 15


questions should address the constitutional issues and precedents involved. You
may also bring in hypotheticals to tease out the effects of ruling the way the
lawyers are requesting

Your active participation in discussing the decision and your explanation of 15


why you are ruling the way you decide to do

TOTAL 50

A. JUDGES
1. When you’ve read all of the material, you should write at least 3 questions to ask EACH
SIDE (petitioners and respondents) from EACH CASE that you need answered in order to
reach a decision. (For the math challenged: that makes a total of 12 questions.) This is
important—how prepared you are can greatly affect the Moot Court. These questions are due at the
beginning of class, on the day of the moot court.

2. You will also need to turn in a summary of the main arguments for each side in each case.

3. TIPS FOR JUDGES:

a. Prepare questions—not speeches—for both sides.


b. Consider how a ruling in the case might affect other cases—ask hypotheticals.
c. Consider the strongest arguments against each side and make questions targeting those
weaknesses
d. Think of follow-up questions for the answers the lawyers might give.
d. Remember that the lawyers mostly have the material you’ve seen—don’t ask about the
“record below” or about precedents not in the materials you’ve received.
4. You will be responsible for deliberating in front of the class. You will need to explain what
questions you have and which arguments you’re considering as you make up your mind for how
you will rule. You will need to refer to what the lawyers said in oral argument that was persuasive
or not persuasive to you. It will not be sufficient to simply repeat what other justices said.

B. LAWYERS
1. As you read through the articles, make a list of the major arguments in favor of your side.
Include relevant precedents and the appropriate texts. You’ll also want to know the product
involved in your case--be sure to spend some time reading about it, looking at pictures, etc.

2. When preparing the arguments, students should consider:


● What does each side (party) want?
● What are the arguments in favor of and against each side?
● Which arguments are the most persuasive? Why?
● What are the legal precedents and how do they influence this case? (Using precedents
allows for the development of more sophisticated arguments.)
● What might be the consequences of each possible decision? To each side? To society?
● Are there any alternatives besides what each side is demanding?
4. The Argument (based upon your participation in class)
a. Opening Statements: One lawyer will open the arguments with your side’s opening
argument. The other attorney should open the arguments during the rebuttal. It will be a group
grade for the lawyers on your side. Have a strong opening sentence or two. Right away, state
your main point, with a clear and convincing argument. (One sentence: main point; next two
sentences: explanation of why your point is correct; next two-four sentences: precedents and how
they connect to your main point). Both statements should take about 30-45 seconds. Rehearse
this before the Ex Day.

b. Questioning: Both lawyers will stand and answer the questions from the justices. Try to
distribute your participation since your grade will encompass both your individual and your
group’s performance. You should be prepared to address why the other side is wrong and your side
is right.

c. Have a theme (a written phrase which embodies your position) that you return to
when you’re questioned. I strongly recommend that you develop this FIRST, before you begin
writing your opening arguments.

5. TIPS FOR ATTORNEYS:


a. Your first words: “May it please the Court. My name is ________ and I represent _________ in
this case.
b. Answer questions briefly and directly.
c. Try to help the judges figure out a way to decide the case your way. Don’t fight them.
III. MOOT COURT PROCEDURE (Use this on the Ex Day)

1. The Judges enter and the marshal says,

“The Honorable, the Judges of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit of the United
States. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Court of the United
States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God Save
the United States and this Honorable Court!”

2. The Marshall calls the case: “We’ll hear argument today in __________ (name of case).

3. Petitioner’s Argument (7 min) – Lawyers, open with the script outlined above in “Tips for Attorneys”
***Ms. Winter civility law: No questions from the justices for the first minute

4. Respondent’s Argument (7 min) - Lawyers, open with the script outlined above in “Tips for Attorneys”
***Ms. Winter civility law: No questions from the justices for the first minute

5. One minute conference between lawyers

6. Petitioner’s Rebuttal (7 min) - Lawyers, open with the script outlined above in “Tips for Attorneys”

7. Respondent’s Argument (7 min) - Lawyers, open with the script outlined above in “Tips for Attorneys”

8. Judges Deliberate and Announce Decision (10-15 minutes)