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Another Supreme Court Argument Gets a Trial Run at CUA Law


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For the second time in less than a month, an upcoming oral argument scheduled before the United States Supreme Court was mooted before an audience of students and faculty at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.

The case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona will be heard by the Justices on Jan. 12, 2015. It will be argued by attorney David Cortman, (above, right) senior counsel and vice-president of religious liberty with Alliance Defending Freedom at its Atlanta Regional Service Center in Georgia. 

On Dec. 16, Cortman rehearsed his arguments during a 90-minute mooting session in the law school’s Slowinksi Courtroom that was open to CUA Law students as an educational experience. The students sign confidentiality agreements not to discuss what they are permitted to watch.
Volunteer judges act as stand-ins for the Supreme Court justices, asking questions and probing for anything in tactics or argument construction that may require attention before the case is actually heard. Their feedback assists the attorney with preparation and gives students a sense of what it takes to advocate effectively before the high court.
Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona reached the Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds. The issue at hand is described on SCOTUSblog:
…”Whether the Town of Gilbert's mere assertion that its sign code lacks a discriminatory motive renders its facially content-based sign code content-neutral and justifies the code's differential treatment of petitioners' religious signs.”

Cortman’s moot is the latest example of the CUA Law Supreme Court Moot Program in action.  Established by Professor Mark Rienzi (top photo, left) and co-directed by Professor Mary Leary, the program also drew Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal on Nov. 24 to moot for B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries, a case that concerned procedural and jurisdictional questions in trademark disputes.