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Liberty Moot Court team sweeps Appalachian Regional

Liberty University's moot court team
The Liberty University Moot Court team with coach Dr. Corey S. Martin.

The Liberty University Moot Court team took home the first- and second-place trophies in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s regional tournament Nov. 8-9. The win marked a tremendous milestone for the Helms School of Government program that began only three years ago. Liberty University School of Law hosted the event in its Supreme Courtroom.

Liberty beat teams from the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, James Madison University, Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Washington and Lee University, and Patrick Henry College to win the Appalachian Regional title.

According to Dr. Corey S. Martin, pre-law professor at the Helms School of Government, Patrick Henry College was “the team to beat” as it had won the previous five ACMA national tournaments in a row and brought eight teams to this year’s regional competition.

Each moot court team consisted of two students. Each competitor was given a question regarding constitutional law, which he or she had to support from either the perspective of the defendant or the United States government. This year’s questions regarded issues pertaining to search and seizure and whether or not the U.S. president can indefinitely detain an American citizen without charging him or her.

All three Liberty teams, including sophomores Emily Rogers and Eli McGowan, advanced from Friday’s preliminary round into Saturday’s octofinals. The tournament semifinals came down to two Liberty teams matched up against two opponents from Patrick Henry. Both Liberty teams won and advanced to meet each other in the final round.

“I was hoping that we would have at least one team in the final, but to sweep them was a pleasant surprise,” Martin said concerning his team’s win over both Patrick Henry teams.

Liberty moot court team wins first place at ACMA competition.
Liberty seniors Whitney Rutherford and Brian Mauldin took first place in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s regional tournament.

Seniors Brian Mauldin and Whitney Rutherford took first place over their teammates, senior Alex Langley and junior Nathan Freier, in the regional final, guaranteeing both Liberty teams invitations to the ACMA national competition at Arizona State University in January.

Martin, who not only coaches the competitors but is their pre-law professor during school hours, believes the good chemistry within the team is the foundation for their success.

“These are my students competing in the tournaments; I know them before they sign up to compete,” Martin said. “We have a good relationship together and a couple of the competitors have been with me now for three years and this is the first time they’ve won a tournament like this.”

Martin also claims his team’s success is rooted in the students’ commitment to training through intramural tournaments.

“The intramural tournament has proven to be instrumental in preparing the students,” Martin said. “We did one in September that allowed the students to hone their skills and set their sights on this regional tournament.”

Martin plans to continue preparing his team for the Jan. 17-18 ACMA National Competition, where the two Liberty teams will compete against other regional champions and runners-up. While the program is still young, Martin believes his team’s dedication will allow it to compete at the highest levels.

“After you’ve been in the program for a couple years, you really gain some experience and it allows you to build on your success the following year,” Martin said.