On the weekend of Jan. 14, eight Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals went toe-to-toe with 160 students at the American Moot Court National Tournament, hosted by Louisiana State University.
This tournament simulates students as attorneys who have to present their arguments to the Supreme Court. The competitions are judged on clarity in the argument, public speaking skills and knowledge of the law and the case.
The students composed four two-person teams to work together in competition. Political science majors Kennedy Kreger and Jeffrey Ramsey were Team 1; political science major Ethan Rose and management major Abigail (Abi) Walk competed as Team 2; post-baccalaureate program student Ethan Day and cell biology, molecular biology, and biomedical sciences major Diva Patel made up Team 3 and political science majors Nikolas Baker and Garrett Powell composed Team 4.
On Team 1, Kreger and Ramsey advanced to the “play-in,” beating out a team from the US Air Force Academy and moving into the top 32 teams in the tournament.
Kreger offered some insight into what moot court has to provide for the students at SVSU:
“While you learn how to read and analyze cases and how to apply that knowledge and analysis to make a legal argument, there are other skills you gain, as well,” she said. “I have become a much better public speaker and have gained a lot of confidence.”
Julie Keil, associate professor of political science and moot court adviser, said each team performed well.
“[Kreger and Ramsey’s] finish along with ballots won by our other three teams should put us in the top 25 schools out of the 135 schools that competed.”
Keil and Amy Hendrickson, SVSU associate professor of law, served as coaches at the competition. Kevin Lorentz also helped to coach the students to be in the top 25 schools competing.
Keil also explained that, through competition at earlier events in the school year, 500 teams competed, 80 qualified for the national competition and SVSU’s teams made up four out of the 80 teams.
Keil also mentioned looking forward to next year’s team as most students will be returning to SVSU and moot court in the fall.
SVSU’s moot court program has qualified for the national tournament nearly every year it has competed.
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