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CSULB To Host Moot Court Western Regional Competition

Published: December 1, 2011

CSULB will host the 10th Annual American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) Western Regional on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3, the 10th consecutive year the event has been held on campus.

The competition takes place on Friday, Dec. 2, in the University Student Union and in Health and Human Services 1 Building, and on Saturday, Dec. 3, in the College of Business Administration building. The event is free and open to the public. On Friday, the event will run from 5-9 p.m. and, on Saturday, competition will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Forty two-person teams are expected to compete at the Western Regional, with five of those teams from CSULB. Other institutions participating in the regional include BYU-Idaho, Carroll College (Montana), Drake (Iowa), Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, Mt. St Mary’s College, Patrick Henry College (Virginia), the University of North Texas, the University of Tampa, Weber State University and Westwood College.

Three of the past nine national champions have won the Western Regional en route to the national finals, including a team from CSULB that captured the title in 2002-03. The regional has produced at least seven national semi-finalists including four in the last six years.

Members of CSULB’s moot court team are all new to the program, with only six of the nine having gained limited experience last spring. None of the current members have participated in any regional and national tournament competition.

“We have all new people, so we’re rebuilding,” said Lewis Ringel, a CSULB lecturer in political science who is in his sixth year serving as director of the campus’ moot court program. “They haven’t faced the kind of pressure that comes with this and that’s one challenge. It’s getting their forensics, it’s getting their style. You can’t speak in front of the court the way we do in regular conversation and be as successful. You sometimes need to know when to stop talking. You need to work on transition. A lot goes into the forensics side, it’s not just about substance of what you say, but it’s also how you say it.”

Moot Court, also known as mock Supreme Court and Supreme Court Simulation, is a simulation of an appellate court proceeding. It involves teams of student contestants, clients burdened by a legal problem, briefs and oratory detailing of the dimensions of the legal problem before an appellate court, and the judging of performances by panels of law students, attorneys, professors, law faculty, or, on occasion, members of the judicial branch of government. Teams from colleges and universities throughout the nation will be arguing the same case.

This year’s hypothetical case asks a) Whether the federal government’s issuance of an administrative subpoena requiring a commercial internet service provider (ISP) to turn over the content of a subscriber’s chat room dialogue violated the Fourth Amendment, and b) Whether Petitioner’s facilitation of a chat room in which conversations pertaining to allegedly threatening the president occurred was protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

CSULB To Host Moot Court Western Regional Competition On Dec. 2-3

Moot court teams are made up of two individuals and their combined oral argument must be 20 minutes with each member of the team presenting a minimum of seven minutes. Not knowing which viewpoint it will be presenting, each team should have the ability to support both arguments. Moot court judges ask students questions and grade the students on the basis of their knowledge of the case, their response to questioning, their forensic skills and their demeanor.

CSULB students competing in the 2011 regional are senior Ruth Anderson, a political science major with a certificate in American Indian Studies from Long Beach; senior Taylor Carr, a political science major from Cypress; junior Ryan Chapman, a political science major from Long Beach; senior Jessica Johnson, a political science major from Long Beach; senior Andrew Kemper, a political science major from Lancaster; junior Robert Lane, a political science major from Long Beach; senior Wyatt Lyles, a political science major from Carson; junior Yasmin Manners, a political science major from Laguna Niguel; and senior Peter Vasilion, a business marketing major from Rancho Palos Verdes.

“I’m extremely optimistic about this group,” said Ringel, who himself was a moot court participant when he attended Trenton State College, now known as New Jersey State. “They’re bright and they work hard. The six who were in the spring class have good skills but we’re rebuilding. We use the pre-season to really hone their arguments and hone their style.”

Along with a number of state judges and one former and one present federal judge, scheduled to serve as judges at the regional are Erwin Chemerinsky, the current and founding dean of the UC Irvine School of Law; John Eastman, the former Dean of Law at Chapman University; California Court of Appeal Justices Paul Turner and Fred Woods, and Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert.

The ACMA 2012 National Tournament will be held Jan. 13-14 at Chapman University Law School. For more information, contact Ringel by e-mail or phone at 562/985-4708.

–Shayne Schroeder