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Students Excel in Moot Court Tournament

October 17, 2013
Author: Dave Thompson

As part of the fall Moot Court Competition, second and third-year law students had the opportunity to argue before real judges a case very close to one currently pending before the United States Supreme Court.

Competitors alternately argued on behalf of a county’s supervisory board, which traditionally opened its meetings with prayers, and a resident asking the county to stop the practice, claiming that the prayers violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Students also submitted a brief in support of one party.

Melanie Migliaccio, a third-year law student, took the top prize, while runner-up Ben White, also in his third year, was recognized for having the best brief in the tournament.

The tournament was the school’s ninth annual competition, and judges from across the country evaluated the arguments presented at the final round. The panel was composed of judges from the federal courts of appeal, federal district courts, state supreme court, and state appellate and lower courts.

Professor Scott Thompson, Director of the Center for Lawyering Skills, told the students, “You continue the tradition of excellence. The judges were all uniformly impressed.”

Professor Thompson said the issues presented in the hypothetical case mirror those in a case set to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court this term, in Town of Greece v. Galloway. “It’s a very real issue, very timely, and something that our students will likely have to deal with in practice,” Professor Thompson said.

Dean Mat Staver remarked, “These competitors are already operating at a high level of competency when compared to other seasoned appellate counsel. I am very proud of our students.”