Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Moot Court – 7055
The Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Moot Court (formerly Maynard Pirsig) focuses on practical writing and oral argument exercises common in modern litigation. In the fall, students work on portions of, and then a full, appellate brief. This work is followed by an oral argument. In the spring, students continue to work with the same law and facts in an appellate venue. They rewrite the appellate brief and advocate in three rounds of oral arguments, including one round in front of a panel of skilled Twin Cities attorneys. The court focuses on topical and timely developments in civil rights and civil liberties law. Recent topics have included First Amendment rights in public schools, a gay-straight alliance’s ability to organize under the Equal Access Act, constitutionality of law school affirmative action programs under the Fourteenth Amendment, and search and seizure of student cellphones.
Students work in five to eight small sections of about 8-10 students, each taught by an experienced attorney and a third-year student director. After participants complete the required writing and oral arguments (usually by the first week in March), directors nominate the “Best Brief” from each section for the best brief tournament. Similarly, the “Best Oralist” is selected from each section for the Maynard Pirsig Honors Oral Competition, a bracket tournament that culminates in a final oral argument in front of justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
The Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Moot Court fields two competition teams: The ABA/NAAC Competition Team and the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition Team.
The ABA/NAAC competition team is composed of four 3Ls and two 2Ls, chosen from the participants in the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Moot Court. Two 2L participants are selected during the fall of their second year. When selected, these two students leave the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Moot Court and join the ABA/NAAC competition team to compete on the team during their second year. Two more 2L participants are selected during the spring of the 2L year and compete the following year. The ABA/NAAC holds regional competitions across the country and the national finals are in New York City.
The Thurgood Marshall Moot Court is composed of two 2Ls and two 3Ls. The selection process is similar to the ABA/NAAC competition team. The Thurgood Marshall Moot Court is unique in that every round takes place in a courtroom in Washington D.C., and it coincides with the midyear meeting of the Federal Bar Association.
Course Credits: Second-year participants in the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Moot Court receive two credits. Those 2Ls who compete on the ABA/NAAC or Thurgood Marshall competition teams receive two credits for Civil Rights/Civil Liberties in their second year, and another two credits in their third year for competing. The 3L participants receive two credits for competing.