The American Constitution Society is proud to announce that the preliminary rounds of the first Constance Baker Motley National Moot Court Competition in Constitutional Law were a great success.
Last weekend, twenty-seven teams from sixteen schools and fifteen states gathered at Columbia Law School to argue the merits of felony disfranchisement before prominent lawyers and judges in the New York City area. The semi-final rounds were judged by the Honorable Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York; the Honorable Helen Freedman of the Supreme Court of New York; Jack Greenberg, Professor of Law at Columbia University and former Director-Counsel of the NAACP LDF; Gara LaMarche, Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Institute; Theodore Shaw, Director- Counsel and President of the NAACP LDF; Guy-Uriel Charles, Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota; Victor Kovner, Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and member of the ACS Board of Directors; and Lisa Brown, ACS Executive Director. On Saturday evening, Professor Greenberg, also a Brown v. Board of Education litigator, presented keynote remarks on his friend and colleague, Judge Baker Motley. He has written that "the way she beat down southern segregationist assaults in case after case . . . reminds me of Grant at Vicksburg. She dug in and would not give an inch until the enemy surrendered no matter how long it took."
The finalists were Sonya Mays and Adam Litle (University of Michigan Law School) and Suzanne LiaBraaten and Andrea Schmitt (University of Washington School of Law). Andrea was also named Best Oral Advocate. Both teams will travel to the ACS National Convention in Washington, D.C. to compete in the Final Round for the national championship and cash prize on Thursday, June 15, 2006.
One finalist reflected that "the ACS Moot Court was the by far the most challenging and rewarding thing I've done while in law school. [My partner] and I would have never imagined that, as first-year law students, we would have the opportunity to try and articulate complex points of constitutional law before a federal judge."
ACS would like to thank the Columbia Law School ACS Moot Court Committee: Mary Kelly Persyn (chair), Jenny Bell, Amos Blackman, Keith Bradley and Zahra Egal for their creativity, scholarship, hard work and overall dedication to the competition. Thanks also to the competitors, judges and volunteers who made the competition possible.
Other award winners included Peter Basso and Siddhartha Mukherjee from Northeastern University School of Law (Best Brief, Petitioner); Cuauht?