Students compete in national Moot Court tournament

By Sara Hollabaugh, Online Editor

Senior Caroline Hamilton and junior Madeleine Juszynski participated in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s 2016-17 national tournament, held in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Hamilton described Moot Court as a Supreme Court simulation.

“Every year, the Moot Court Association writes a new case to be argued in front of a panel of judges, usually local attorneys,” Hamilton said. “This activity is closed, which means we can only use the cases re- leased or referenced in the case we are to argue.”

Hamilton said they spent the semester using cases they were provided with to make their arguments.

“Because we argue both sides, we have to be ready for both sides,” Hamilton said. “Usually, oral arguments last

around 10 minutes [with 20 per team] and the judges are allowed to interject and ask us questions at any time.”

Hamilton added that each team participates in a regional tournament to try and qualify for nationals.

“Essentially you only have one chance to get to nationals,” Hamilton said.

Partners since fall 2016, Hamilton and Juszynski’s topic at the national tournament was voter fraud.

Juszynski said she argued the 14th Amendment and Hamilton argued the standing and First Amendment issues 

They both argued for the government and the federal appeals court, which is required of Moot Court participants, Juszynski added.

Juszynski said the tournament in Florida was rewarding and Hamilton said they spent 12 hours competing at Stetson Law School.

“It was a great opportunity to meet students doing Moot Court from all over the country and argue against the best [in] the country,” Juszynski said.

Though the duo did not advance to the second day, Juszynski attributed the loss to the strength of the competition.

Hamilton added that her partner- ship with Juszynski made her experience in Florida wonderful.

“She is so incredibly smart, hard- working, and dedicated to Moot Court,” Hamilton said. “I think we worked well as partners, as we have similar argumentation styles. I consider her a close friend, so it was fun to be able to travel to Florida and experience nationals together.”

Since Hamilton is set to graduate in May, her time with Moot Court has ended, but Juszynski plans on continuing next year as a senior.

Seniors break OWU Moot Court record

Evan Walsh, Transcript Reporter

An Ohio Wesleyan record was broken when two OWU students earned a Top-5 finish in last month’s American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s national championship.

In Moot Court, students argue for or against a fake case that requires each team and its members to interpret constitutional rights that apply to it.

OWU was eligible to send four students (or two teams) to this event, which was attended by more than 350 schools from across the country.

Michael Esler, a professor of politics and government, accompanied seniors Katherine Berger and Rhiannon Herbert and juniors Forrest Dearing and Chloe Dyer on the trip.

California State University in Long Beach hosted this year’s championship.

Seniors Katie Berger (left) and Rhionnan Photo courtesy of Facebook.
Seniors Katherine Berger (left) and Rhiannon    Herbert (right) show their awards. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

“It’s a great opportunity to cultivate and begin the process of developing arguments, learning the necessary forensics and getting arguments ready for competition,” said Michael Crum, one of the team members.

The team, which meets several times each week to discuss different cases, earned praise from President Rock Jones for their commitment to the program.

“Our students who participated in Moot Court worked very hard in preparation for the competition and did very well against very strong teams,” Jones said.

Berger and Herbert earned a Top-5 finish in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s national championship, setting a new OWU record. Last year, they had a top 20 finish.

In a press release, Essler said, “At last year’s nationals they won every round in the preliminaries, one of only six teams to do so but they were undaunted, knew what they had to do, and took care of business with the determination that has characterized their performance throughout their moot career.”

The team proceeded to win three consecutive rounds against higher-ranked teams, including two of the nation’s top-ranked teams.

Jerry Lherrison, a former team member, spoke highly of the Berger and Herbert’s record-setting performances.

“I think they are both phenomenal debaters,” Lherrison said. “They’re going to make incredible attorneys one day.”

Moot Court robbed in Miami

(Left to right) The four students who attended the national competition are Lidia Mowad, Jordan Bernstein, Rhiannon Herbert and Katherine Berger. Photo courtesy of Michael Esler.
(Left to right) The four students who attended the national competition are Lidia Mowad, Jordan Bernstein, Rhiannon Herbert and Katherine Berger. Photo courtesy of Michael Esler.

The Ohio Wesleyan Moot Court teams did not expect great success at nationals, and they certainly did not expect to get robbed on their last day of travel.

OWU sent two teams to the national Moot Court competition in Miami, Fla. The first team consisted of seniors Jordan Bernstein and Lidia Mowad. Juniors Rhiannon Herbert and Katherine Berger made up the second team. Each pair went far in the competition, and according to Mowad and Berger, they were surprised at their success.

“No, I did not expect it,” said Mowad. “But the best part was that the founder of the Moot Court Association of America judged us and gave us the winning ballot. So really, how much better can we do?”

On the last day of their trip, both teams went on an airboat tour.

The boat went through “the Florida Everglades looking at alligators,” said Herbert.
“We left everything in the car because we did not want to bring any valuables on the boat.”

When the group arrived back at the car, two purses, a backpack and a briefcase were missing. All of the luggage for their flight was still in the car.

“When I noticed what was taken from the car it was just a moment of sheer panic,” said Berger. “I just thought ‘there is no way,’ I’ve heard about this happening to people, but I never expected it would ever happen to me.”

In many of the stolen bags were wallets with credit cards and IDs. This made boarding the return flight difficult. But after going through a Transportation Security Administration background check, they were able to fly home.

“I kissed the ground in Ohio when I got off the plane,” said Berger.

Everyone that lost property in the robbery had cancelled credit cards. Some even wiped their cell phones remotely with software. As for the rest of their personal property, they are responsible for its replacement.