2000-2001 Competition Results
When Rights Collide: An Examination of the Right to Freedom of Expression within the Context of Separation of Church and State and an Educator's Discretion inside the Classroom
The Sixteenth Annual William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition was held March 1 - 3, 2001 at the University of Minnesota Law School. Twenty-eight teams from the participated:
Each team briefed and argued C.H. ex rel. Z.H. v. Oliva, 226 F.3d 198 (3d Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 121 S.Ct. 2519 (June 18, 2001), a case that considered the First Amendment freedom of speech and Establishment Clause implications of a public school teacher's refusal to allow a first grade student to read a Children's Bible story to his class because of the story's religious content when she had asked him to bring his favorite story from home to read to the class.
Judge James B. Loken of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Nathanial Jones of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Joan Ericksen Lancaster of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Edward Toussaint, Jr., Chief Judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals presided over the final argument in Lockhart Hall.
The overall winner of the competition was Georgetown University Law Center. Seton Hall School of Law Team A placed second. Brooklyn Law School won Best Brief honors. Jessica Merz from University of Minnesota Law School Team B was named overall Best Oral Advocate with Brooke Tassoni of the University of Minnesota Law School Team A and Brad Snyder of New York University School of Law receiving Honorable Mention. Sandra Rampersaud from Brooklyn Law School was named Best Oral Advocate of the Preliminary Rounds. The other teams that advanced to the quarter-final and/or semi-final rounds included New York University School of Law and the University of Minnesota Team B which advanced to the semi-finals, and the Seton Hall School of Law Team B, University of Minnesota Law School Team A, Brooklyn Law School and the University of Wisconsin School of Law Team A which advanced to the quarter-finals.
Over 120 members of the bar and bench took part in judging briefs, oral arguments or both. Prior to the competition, the Civil Rights Moot Court offered the volunteer judges a free Continuing Legal Education program, "When Rights Collide: An Examination of the Right to Freedom of Expression within the Context of Separation of Church and State and an Educator's Discretion inside the Classroom." The well attended program included a panel discussion regarding the legal, constitutional and policy issues involved in cases like C.H. ex rel. Z.H. v. Oliva. The panel consisted of the law school's Prof. Dan Farber, a nationally recognized authority on constitutional law, Prof. Michael Paulson, who teaches and writes in areas including constitutional law and law and religion, and Adjunct Prof. Art Eisenberg who is the Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union and teaches a course at the law school regarding Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigation. Clinical Prof. Carl Warren moderated the panel. Associate Prof. Guy-Uriel Charles gave a presentation regarding the appropriate analysis of the constitutional issues in cases of this nature, and Clinical Prof. Maury Landsman, who teaches a course regarding law and ethics, discussed the ethical issues relating to attorney bias.