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School of Law Helps Prepare U.S. Supreme Court Free Speech Case

October 30, 2008

On Wednesday, October 29, Liberty University School of Law aided in the preparation of a major free speech case that will soon be argued before the United States Supreme Court. Jay Sekulow, Chief Council for the American Center for Law and Justice, presented arguments before a panel of nine law professors and constitutional attorneys during a moot court session in the law school’s Supreme Courtroom. The case known as Pleasant Grove City v. Summum will be delivered on November 12, 2008 before the United States Supreme Court.

This case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court after a cult religion, Summum, filed suit against Pleasant Grove City, Utah. Summum demanded to have its so-called “Seven Aphorisms” permanently erected in a public park alongside a Ten Commandments monument that had been donated to the city in 1971 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. When Pleasant Grove City refused, Summum filed suit. Amazingly, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Summum. Sekulow argues “that the Supreme Court is faced with a relative easy choice: preserve sound precedent involving the well-established distinction between government speech and private speech–or permit a twisted interpretation of the Constitution.”

Sekulow presented his case directly to a panel of professors and constitutional attorneys acting as Supreme Court Justices. Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law and Founder of Liberty Counsel, acted as the Chief Justice. Dean Staver and attorneys with Liberty Counsel filed a brief before the Supreme Court in support of Pleasant Grove City. Dean Staver commented: “When I created and designed the Supreme Courtroom I envisioned that we would prepare some of the most important cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in this venue at Liberty University. This case will be the second case we prepared this semester.”

The Supreme Courtroom at Liberty University School of Law is a unique courtroom with an exact replica of the nine-member bench in the United States Supreme Court.

Law students at Liberty University are required to prepare and participate in a moot court competition as part of their legal training. Being able to watch experienced appellate lawyers argue a real case before the U.S. Supreme Court provides an invaluable training opportunity.

Liberty University School of Law is committed to academic and professional excellence in the context of the Christian intellectual tradition, aspiring to produce graduates who are clear thinkers, skilled legal practitioners, and morally responsible leaders of society. “We are training a new generation of lawyers, judges, educators, policy makers and world leaders in the rule of law within the context of a Christian worldview,” Staver concluded.