11.06.2007

Regent Law Students Win First Amendment Moot Court Competition

This past weekend a group of Regent law students competed at the Fourteenth Annual Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition at American University in Washington D. C. Third-year law students Ashleigh Kingery, Rich Wenner, and Heath Sabin took first place after six rounds of oral argument. Additionally, Rich Wenner received honors for "Third Best Oralist."

The Wechsler Competition brought various national and international law schools together to argue a specially formulated problem concerning the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the right of expressive association. Competitors were required to write an appellate brief that was submitted about a month prior to the competition. Each team was also required to participate in two preliminary rounds of oral argument. The brief score was then calculated into the total score and helped determine which teams would advance. Competitors showcased their oral advocacy skills before venerable judges, prominent attorneys, and First Amendment scholars. When the scores were tallied, the Regent team advanced past the preliminary rounds and then advanced further past the semifinal round, earning a spot in the final round. In the final round the Regent team competed before a panel of judges including the Honorable Boyce F. Martin, Chief Judge Emeritus of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Honorable Reggie B. Walton, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, the Honorable Rosemary Pooler, Circuit Judge for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Honorable Stephen R. Reinhardt, Circuit Judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

When the scores of the final round had all been tallied, the Regent moot court team was declared champion at an awards banquet. Professor Steven Fitschen, who helped coach the competing teams, spoke highly of the competitors efforts; "I am so proud of our students. This victory is attributable to two things: a lot of prayer and a lot of hard work. God was very gracious to us, and the students pumped their hearts and soul into the competition. But I was proud of them not only for their victory, but also for their great witness for Christ that they presented to the organizers, the other competitors and the judges."

This victory by the Regent Moot Court team comes as the second first place finish in 2007, the first being at the J. Braxton Craven Moot Court Competition at the University of North Carolina in February. These moot court wins for Regent are just the most recent in a series of wins over the last few years, including first place at the 2006 ABA National Appellate Advocacy Championship.