Northwestern University Law School Supreme Court Clinic
Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties Project / Northwestern University Law School Supreme Court Clinic
This partnership between Sidley and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law gives Northwestern students the opportunity to work on cases pending before the Supreme Court. Third-year law students are supervised by Sidley lawyers in researching and drafting briefs in cases at the petition stage and on the merits. The students also monitor lower court decisions to identify potential candidates for petitions for writs of certiorari. 

In 2019, the Clinic filed 10 petitions for a writ of certiorari, 6 reply briefs and 2 briefs as amicus curiae. Students also contributed to briefing on the merits, including 3 briefs for petitioner, 3 reply briefs and 3 briefs for respondent.
Ritzen Group, Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, LLC
Sidley obtained a unanimous victory in this case, which began as a stand-alone lawsuit in state court and was aggregated with a bankruptcy case after our client, a small masonry business in Nashville, Tennessee, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Our team, working in collaboration with the client’s bankruptcy counsel, drafted the respondent’s brief and assisted in preparation for the oral argument.  Delivering the opinion of the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg affirmed the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and held that the petitioner’s appeal from a denial of stay relief was untimely. Importantly, the Court’s decision shields our client from expending substantial resources re-litigating claims that were conclusively decided in its favor. The Court adopted the position advanced by our client and echoed by the United States, which appeared as amicus curiae in support of Jackson Masonry.
Rehaif v. United States
In a case pertaining to securing convictions for firearms charges, the Supreme Court held that prosecutors must prove that defendants are aware of their immigration status in addition to deliberate possession. The petitioner, whom Sidley represented, had come to the U.S. on a nonimmigrant student visa, during which time he visited a firing range for target shooting and was subsequently prosecuted for possessing firearms while being in the country unlawfully. The case is expected to significantly affect federal court prosecutions across the U.S. involving charges against felons of unlawful possession of a firearm.
United States v. Haymond
The Supreme Court for the first time extended jury trial protections to federal defendants who are serving a term of supervised release. The Court held that a statute that provided for an automatic five-year minimum term of reimprisonment for defendants on supervised release was unconstitutional because the statute did not require a jury trial or the traditional “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof.
United States v. Davis
Sidley worked with the Federal Defender for the Northern District of Texas to obtain another criminal defense victory when the Supreme Court struck down the residual clause of the federal gun possession statute. In a holding of first impression, the Court refused to allow the United States to use the doctrine of constitutional avoidance to expand the scope of a criminal statute.