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As a clerk for an Associate Justice of the U.S.

As a clerk for an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, prepare a 4–5-page opinion for the Court based on the following facts: 

James Smith was arrested for burglarizing his next-door neighbor’s apartment in the state of California. And without the benefit of a warrant, the neighbor, who is a friend of Mr. Smith, forced open the front door to Mr. Smith’s apartment and saw his property. The neighbor called the police, and they immediately arrested Mr. Smith for burglary and possession of stolen property out of fear that he would get rid of the property before they returned with a search warrant. Mr. Smith’s convictions in the state and federal courts were upheld, and it is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prepare the Court’s response to the challenge that Mr. Smith’s constitutional rights were violated.

Be sure to include the following in your opinion:

  • Identify specific examples in the language of prior decisions.  
  • Examine some of the arguments used by the framers of the Constitution while debating the language of the document.  
    • Include any philosophical underpinning that might influence the Court’s ruling.  
    • Include any social forces that could be useful to guide the decision. 
  • Outline major philosophical arguments of the U.S. Supreme Court in such cases as Weeks v. United States and Mapp v. Ohio
  • Use specific references to support your position from the U.S. Constitution and the philosophical perspective of the U.S. Bill of Rights, which helped shape constitutional law in the United States.

You will be graded on the clarity of your opinion, the presentation of your position, use of proper APA format, and your understanding of the Bill of Rights and natural law.


Oyez. (n.d.a). Mapp v. Ohio.

Oyez. (n.d.b). Weeks v. United States.

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