Three teams of SVSU students advanced to the Moot Court National Competition, where they will compete with 80 other teams.
SVSU’s moot court program tasks students with arguing legal cases in front of a simulated Supreme Court and is currently ranked 17th in the country.
Justine Brabaw, a political science junior, explained the semester-long process in which teams receive and practice their cases.
“The case problem, which contains the two issues which will be argued, is released in May,” Brabaw said. “A Mooter will compete arguing one of those issues while their partner argues the other in the time span of 20 minutes against another team.”
Brabaw said that while over 400 teams compete at regional competitions, only 80 make it to the national championship.
“Competitions are two days,” she said. “On the first day teams run multiple rounds to establish team rank, and on the second day
teams are eliminated after each round. In order to qualify for the national competition … we had to finish in the top four out of the 26 teams that competed.”
Justin Weller, a political science junior, was proud to say that each of SVSU’s competing students received awards at the regional competition in November.
“Lindsey (Mead) received a sixth place Orator Award, and I received a 16th place Orator Recognition out of 84 competitors,” Weller said. “We qualified along with four other teammates: Ashley French and Joshua High, and Justine Brabaw and Erik Byron.”
French and High finished in second, while Brabaw and Byron finished in fourth. Byron, a political science senior, explained his and Brabaw’s assigned case.
“There were some seriously sketchy things going on with the warrants that were issued to collect information and with the statements that were admitted to court,” Byron said. “It is our job to argue that the court should either reverse the case at bar or affirm it, and it is up to us to find creative and sound reasoning to argue that both ways.”
Byron added that moot court helps him accomplish his future goals of studying law.
“I really want to go on and study law, so moot court has not only helped me realize that this is the direction I want to take in my life, but it has also equipped me with the advocating, speaking and reading (case law) skills that I will use all of my career,” he said.
Lindsey Mead, an English senior and threetime national competitor, said she is excited to collaborate with her classmates on their respective cases.
“This year we have qualified two teams other than just Justin Weller and me,” Mead said. “I am grateful to be friends with all of these humans and excited to help each other prepare.”
Weller said he is looking forward to advancing even further than previous years.
“This regional competition we finished in fifth place,” he said. “I am looking forward to growing and arguing better than I did last year at nationals. Last year, Lindsey and I finished 22nd in the nation, and we want to advance further into the competition this year.”
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