Newseum to host mock court case Pear v. United States on June 15

Pear v. United States

The issues at the heart of the encryption spat between technology giant Apple and the FBI will be argued before a mock U.S. Supreme Court at the Newseum June 15.

Called Pear v. United States, the case will include experts in First Amendment law, cybersecurity, civil liberties and national security who will make up the eight-member High Court and legal teams representing Pear and the government.

Oral arguments, supported by written briefs, will focus on issues that are likely to reach the actual Supreme Court, from the power of the government to “compel speech” to the privacy expectations of millions of mobile phone users.

Each side will have 25 minutes to argue its position and an additional five minutes for follow-up comments.  Following the proceedings, the audience will be invited to ask questions of the lawyers and court members.

The Justices hearing the case include:

  • Floyd Abrams, renowned First Amendment lawyer and author; visiting lecturer at the Yale Law School (representing the chief justice)
  • Harvey Rishikof, most recently dean of faculty at the National War College at the National Defense University; chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security
  • Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union; the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School
  • Linda Greenhouse, Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School; longtime U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times
  • Lee Levine, renowned media lawyer; adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center
  • Stewart Baker, national security law and policy expert; former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Stephen Vladeck, professor of law at American University Washington College of Law; nationally recognized expert on the role of the federal courts in the war on terrorism
  • The Hon. Robert S. Lasnik, senior judge for the Western District of Washington at the U.S. District Court

Lawyers arguing the case include:

  • For Pear: Robert Corn-Revere has extensive experience in First Amendment law and communications, media and information technology law
    • Ronald G. London, experienced appellate litigator and editor of DWT Privacy and Security Law Blog,
  • For the U.S. government: Joseph DeMarco, who served from 1997 to 2007 as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, specializes in issues involving information privacy and security, theft of intellectual property, computer intrusions, online fraud and the lawful use of new technology
    • Co-counsel: Jeffrey Barnum, a lawyer and legal scholar specializing in criminal law and First Amendment law who argued United States v. Alaa Mohammad Ali before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces while in law school

The program is organized on behalf of the Newseum Institute by Mooney and Ronald Collins, the University of Washington Law School’s Harold S. Shefelman Scholar.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. in the Newseum’s Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater.  It is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The program will also be live-streamed on

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