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Moot court team competes at Great Lakes regional

Two teams qualified for the national competition in January and three individuals brought home awards for oration

Mariah Joyce

Contributing Writer

Wooster’s Moot Court team competed in the Great Lakes Regional qualifying tournament this past Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9. Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Mich. hosted the tournament.

This competition was the first of three regional qualifying tournaments that Wooster’s Moot Court will compete in; teams will also be competing in Orlando, Fla., and another competition will be hosted at the College.

Each year, Moot Court teams from colleges and universities around the country formulate arguments about constitutional and statutory issues raised by a hypothetical Supreme Court case distributed by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA).

Students must participate in regional competitions throughout November in order to determine which teams will qualify for Nationals.

This year, the hypothetical case is that of Chester Comerford vs. United States of America. According to the official case issue, the questions raised are, first, “Whether the warrantless tracking of the defendant’s location through a cell phone violated the Fourth Amendment,” and second, “Whether the President exceeded his authority when he ordered the indefinite detention of an American citizen.”

Wooster performed admirably at the competition. Roughly 30 teams from around the country participated on the first day (Nov. 8), and of those 30 teams only 16 scored high enough to advance to the second day of competition (Nov. 9), including five of the six Wooster teams.

Andrea Patton ’14, a team captain, noted that the sixth team (made up of two first years), “just barely missed the cutoff.”

The second day was conducted as a bracket tournament. Three Wooster teams made it to the top eight, and two made it to the top four. The top five teams at the tournament automatically qualify for Nationals, which will take place at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University later this year.

Luke Tonat ’15 and Tyler Hoff ’14 qualified for Nationals, as well as Patton and Alexi Ehrlich ’15, who also took second place in the competition overall.

Individual Wooster students also received recognition for their performance. The judges recognized the 10 best speakers in the competition by granting Orator Awards.

Three Wooster students earned this distinction. Madeleine O’Neill ’16 came in second, Savannah Glidewell ’16 in fourth, and Patton in fifth overall.

“All of the counselors who attended that regional tournament put in incredible amounts of work in the days leading up to competition and it showed,” Patton said. “This is only possible because of how we all work together.”

Wooster came away from the Great Lakes tournament with a new sense of the case. Patton remarked that when the team spends a semester discussing the case problem together, they naturally develop a particular way of understanding both the case problem and the arguments, but observed that “When you get to the first regional competition … you often find out that attorneys encountering the problem for the first time have a very different way of viewing the issue.”

The Moot Court team continues to prepare for the upcoming regional in Florida on Nov. 15-16 and at the College on Nov. 22-23.

“The counselors who competed in the Great Lakes Regional will be helping the other teams by asking questions like the attorneys we faced in our tournaments,” Patton said.

“The goal is to incorporate that new understanding of the problem into the teams traveling to Orlando and staying in Wooster … to help us make our arguments more accessible to new audiences.”

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