Mock Appellate Court (1) As part of their unit on Mesopotamia, one of Akiba-Schechter’s 5th/6th grade History classes is holding a mock appeals court. During their study of Hammurabi’s Code, they found some passages that were remarkably similar to passages in Parshat Mishpatim. They specifically looked at the case of a pregnant woman who is accidentally hit and miscarries. The punishment in each text is different, but the question is the same: is the fetus a human life or the mother’s property? The students then looked at a modern day court case from Massachusetts that deals with the same scenario: Thibert vs. Milka (1995), as well as several Jewish sources from the Talmud. The students are simulating a mock appeals court by taking on the roles of appellate lawyers and writing appellate “briefs.” To prepare for this, they have been analyzing a series of fictional cases and deciding whether these cases hurt or help their position. For the mock appeals court, the students have been presented with a fictional case that mimics the concepts explored in all of the sources they have examined–specifically, Thibert vs. Milka. Their fictional case *was* settled in trial court but was appealed by the plaintiff. The students are going to simulate the appellate court by taking on the roles of appellate lawyers. To do this, the students have analyzed a packet of fictional previous cases that deal with miscarriage of a fetus. For each of these cases, they are trying to figure out whether the case helps or hurts their position, and if it’s the latter, how they will dismantle the other side’s argument. Once they are done with this, they will be writing mock appellate briefs that clearly articulate their team’s position using evidence. They will holding their mock appeals court on Tuesday. We wish our attorneys good luck in solving this age-old question: when does human life begin?

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