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Moot Court heads to national tournament

Moot Court students prepare for nationals. Courtesy Photo | Justin Weller

Two SVSU Moot Court teams will compete at the national tournament beginning Friday, Jan. 22.

The teams, made up of two students each, include Erick Byron, Collin Willette, Justin Weller and Caroline Swatzki.

Due to COVID-19 event restrictions and the health and safety of students, the tournament will be held via Zoom. It will be hosted as a bracket style event with several additional competitions spanning over a two day period.

“On the first day of the national competition, each of our SVSU teams will face three random teams,” said Justin Weller, a political science senior. “If our teams qualify for the second day of the tournament, our teams will face other teams in a single elimination format. In addition to the oral advocacy portion of the tournament, there is also a brief writing section of the competition, where students formally write their arguments into appellate briefs.”

Weller explained that preparing for the tournament has required much dedication from the student teams.

“We prepare by spending the holiday break and the beginning of the winter semester running arguments, fixing the holes in them and bouncing ideas off of each other,” Weller said.

The case topic this year involves a public accommodation’s refusal to serve customers based on their sexual orientation with Supreme Court decisions used as supporting precedent. The topic requires competitors to prepare through analytical reading and to think objectively despite personal beliefs.

“Keep in mind that, as a competitor, you must be prepared to argue both sides of the case (petitioner and respondent) regardless of any moral trepidation,” said Collin Willette, a political science senior.

He said SVSU’s student teams are more than ready for the challenge, despite the challenges the school year has brought.

He explained that his confidence stems from the SVSU Moot Court program’s long standing success and the team’s dedication to prove the program’s prestigious reputation on the national stage.

“The national tournament means that we are representing not only SVSU, but the Great Lakes Bay Region on the national stage,” Weller said. “SVSU has qualified for nationals every year since its inception and this fact attests to the strength and tenacity of our program. We all know representation matters, and this representation showcases what SVSU and this region have to offer.”

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