The McLean County High School Moot Court team competed March 11 at the Marshall Brennan National Moot Court Competition in Washington D.C.
Garry Morris, team advisor, said that in law school, attorneys are trained to be trial lawyers or appellate attorneys. Moot Court is essentially a high school level mock-up of that, with some differences.
“Appellate attorneys are those who write a brief about a case and then eventually may end up arguing in front of a set of judges,” Morris said. “What it concerns is, what does the law mean in a particular situation? Was the law applied correctly?
“At the high school level, we don’t write briefs, so that part’s out, but we do the oral arguments. We get a simulated Supreme Court case, and we work on developing arguments for a side that’s either chosen for us or we choose. Then you argue it before judges, and you’re scored on how well you argue it and the knowledge of it.”
The team has competed in various national competitions since it began in 2010. It was the only school from Kentucky that competed in this year’s national competition.
Senior Cati Brawner represented MCHS as a semifinalist during the competition. She has been on the team since 2021.
“I was in shock when I found out I was a semifinalist,” she said. “It didn’t feel like it was real.”
Brawner said this year’s case was focused on the Fourth Amendment with search and seizure and the First Amendment with free speech. The case focused on a school administrator who dumped out a student’s backpack in search for a banned book allegedly in their possession.
“This year’s case was one of the more difficult ones,” she said. “I was a respondent representing the school, and it was hard to argue that the student’s First Amendment right wasn’t violated, and the Fourth Amendment side on the student’s behalf was harder to argue.”
Sophomore Erica Simon said she wanted to join Moot Court because she thought it would be a good experience to learn more about the legal system.
“There’s been so much we’ve been able to learn about the amendments, how the law is interpreted and how to fight for justice,” she said.
Freshman Daria Howard-Zuniga said being on Moot Court has helped her understand how laws are applied and that the national competition furthered her knowledge.
“The national competition was a great experience to able to find out what Moot Court really is,” she said. “We got to see so many amazing things while we were there.”
Karah Wilson, 270-691-7315, email@example.com, Twitter: @karahwilson19
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