Regent University hosted the Mid Atlantic American Moot Court Association (AMCA) tournament the weekend of November 4, 2016. Students in the Regent University Debate Association (RUDA) from the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) registered five teams, two of which earned third and fourth place in the regional competition. Three students, Alexandria Cross, Ronald Pantalena, and Christopher Mateer, received top-10 speaker awards.
"I think the students did very well,"
said Dr. Nick Higgins, CAS assistant professor and RUDA sponsor. "We
will have two teams that will be invited to go to the national
tournament in Florida in January. Now we are just working with them to
refine their arguments, looking at where the judges poked holes in them,
and create a better way to go about and ensure we, Lord willing, have
victory in Florida."
Eleven RUDA students competed in teams of two. They presented arguments
about voter ID laws, and whether they violate the equal protection
clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gender played a
role in this year's AMCA scenario by presenting a fictitious case where a
woman was denied her right to vote after marrying, changing her name,
and attempting to vote before she could obtain a new ID. New for this
year, competitors had to prove they had standing to bring about a
lawsuit before a judge would hear the scenario case.
Competitors came to the annual tournament at Regent from the University
of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, George
Washington University, James Madison University, Bridgewater College,
Patrick Henry College, and Liberty University. Judges determined speaker
awards based on knowledge of case facts, legal reasoning, and the
manner in which contestants presented themselves while facing pressure
from judges. Points were awarded in these categories, and then
"These students have been working anywhere from three to six hours per
week just on presenting their arguments to myself and Lindsey Gilman, a
third year law school student who helps coach them," said Higgins. "She
and I are there two to three days per week, and we have students come
and give arguments to us, and we badger them back and forth like they
would at a tournament. The students do their own legal research and
prepare their own arguments, and they've been doing this since the first
week of school."
RUDA students who succeeded at the regional tournament took a few days
off, but are preparing for a national tournament at Stetson University
in Florida in January. RUDA typically focuses on Moot Court in the fall,
but may expand to do policy debates in the spring. Higgins says
students enjoyed the regional competition and are looking forward to
competing again next year.
By Brennan Smith
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