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University of Georgia School of Law Wins National Moot Court Competition; St. Louis University School of Law Places Second

The University of Georgia School of Law won the final round of the 70th Annual National Moot Court Competition held February 13 at the New York City Bar Association. The winning team was comprised of John Lex Kenerly, Joseph Stuhrenberg and Jonathan Kaufman.  St. Louis University School of Law was the runner-up, with a team comprised of Maysa Daoud, Ashton Dietrich and Aaron Freeman.

Best Brief honors went to Creighton University School of Law with Runner-Up Best Brief awarded to South Texas College of Law Houston.

Best Oralist in the Final Round was Joseph Stuhrenberg. Runner-Up Best Oralist in the Final Round was Maysa Daoud.

The final round was judged by Roger Juan Maldonado, President, New York City Bar Association; Douglas R. Young, President, American College of Trial Lawyers; Hon. Edgardo Ramos, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; Hon. Judith J. Gishe, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department; Hon. Ona Wang, Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  

This year’s problem centers around a weighty and topical question: What rights and procedural guarantees are granted by the law and the constitution to undocumented immigrants in the United States? The fact pattern imagines a federal law making it a felony for undocumented immigrants to participate in public political protests, and an undocumented immigrant convicted under that statute. Under circumstances like these, the Immigration and Nationality Act makes an undocumented person subject to expedited deportation, bypassing many traditional avenues of judicial review.

Competitors in this year’s tournament seek to resolve two questions. First, competitors must determine the circumstances under which an undocumented immigrant subject to expedited review may access the courts to challenge their deportation, and whether the government’s procedures properly give such immigrants the ability to assert legal arguments in their own defense. Second, competitors must show whether it violates the First Amendment to criminalize political protest by undocumented immigrants, by exploring the circumstances under which the Supreme Court has granted and denied other rights to immigrants, documented and undocumented.

The final argument was the culmination of more than six months of preparation and arguments by 156 teams from over 115 law schools across the country. The top two teams from each of the 14 regional competitions advanced to the final rounds.

The Competition is co-sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the National Moot Court Competition Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Photos are available on request.