for Gregory Lee Johnson (Respondent)
first thing to remember is this: Even though you are re-enacting
a 1989 Supreme Court case, this is not the Court of 1989.
You must make your own arguments and build your own defense.
you are the respondent, you will present second — after the petitioner.
prepare your presentation before the Supreme Court, you should carefully
prepare a brief statement of your position. Be sure the statement
includes facts that support your position. It should also mention
any earlier cases that support your position.
get you started, here are some points made by Johnson’s attorney
in the actual Supreme Court hearing:
- Johnson’s activities were symbolic speech
protected by the First Amendment.
- Previous court rulings had protected symbolic
- Johnson’s activities did not pose a danger
to the public. In fact, the only danger was to Johnson, who might
have been attacked by spectators.
should understand the First Amendment concept: “Congress shall make
no law … abridging the freedom of speech … .”
- What speech
does the First Amendment protect?
- Is this
case an example of protected or unprotected speech?
- What is
symbolic speech? How does the concept of symbolic speech apply
to this case?
also should understand the First Amendment concept: “… right of
the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
- How was
Gregory Lee Johnson exercising this right?
should think about how to refute the arguments of the other side.
- What will
be their most cogent arguments?
- What is
may use cases after 1989 to argue your position, as well as those
that were precedents for this case when it was first argued.
you have outlined and written your statement, pick one student to
present it. At least two other group members should be prepared
to answer questions from the justices.
the justices can interrupt at any time — even before you have made
all your points.