Eight members of the College of the Holy Cross Moot Court team competed in the Eastern Regional Tournament at Fitchburg State University in November, one of 10 tournaments nationwide which served as a qualifier for the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA)’s National Championship Tournament. The three teams from Holy Cross were among the 13 teams advancing out of the competition pool and will compete at the national tournament on Jan. 16-17 at the University of Miami College of Law in Miami, Florida. The Holy Cross teams consisted of: Megan Izzo ’17 and Bethany Fogerty ’16, Andrea Thompson ’15 and Emily Sawicki ’15, Danielle Madkour ’16 and Lauren Hayward ’18, and co-captains Christine Fimognari ’15 and Michael Bender ’15.
The benefits of being involved in the moot court team at the College can be seen on both a personal and professional level. “Competing in moot court is an invaluable experience for anyone contemplating a career in law or politics” says Izzo who is a double major in English and political philosophy. ”The skills that it forces you to develop–public speaking, critical analysis, thinking on your feet, the ability to see both sides of an argument–are incredibly useful life skills, regardless of your career choice.”
Moot Court is a simulation of appellate court, in which participants compete in teams of two to argue the constitutionality of lower rulings in front of a panel of judges who act as the Supreme Court. The case remains the same throughout the year and addresses two distinct constitutional issues. Each partner is allocated one issue and prepares arguments for both the petitioner and respondent, acting as legal counsel. Teams must study past Supreme Court case law and use judicial precedent to combat questioning and convince the judges to rule in favor of their client.
This year’s case invoked the 1st and 14th Amendments, and involved a law within a fictional state, “Proposition 417,” which regulates the procurement of abortions. The three qualifying teams will continue to conduct legal research over the winter break on this topic to prepare for the national competition in January. Accompanying the students to nationals are coaches John O’Donnell ’04, Neil Petersen ’04, and Alex O’Hara ’13.
“I’ve had a great experience with moot court during my time at Holy Cross, and my teammates and I are looking forward to the chance to win a national title this year” says Izzo.
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