March 28, 2017

(From L to R) Liam Phibbs, Yi Shen, Gene Policinski, Kayla Clark, Hope Tone, Shannon Lawry, John Garvey, Sarah Duggin, and Lata Nott

More than 160 competitors, coaches, lawyers and judges took part in the 2017 Seigenthaler-Sutherland National Moot Court Competition at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (CUA Law) and the Newseum on March 24th and 25th. The twenty-eight teams participating in the competition argued about the constitutionality of sanctions imposed on a public high school student as a result of a derogatory Facebook post created on a personal computer in her own home. The hypothetical problem combined critical elements of a very real dilemma facing public schools and their students across the country in the internet age.

The competition began as CUA Law Dean Daniel F. Attridge and the Moot Court Board welcomed competitors to two rounds of arguments at the Law School on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, the Newseum hosted the quarter-final, semi-final, and final rounds. Judges for the competition included many distinguished practitioners and judges. The final-round bench featured John H. Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America; Rodney W. Sippel, Chief U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri; Jane Stranch, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the 6th Circuit; and Susan Webber Wright, Senior U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of Arkansas. The semi-final-round judges included Joseph F. Leeson Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Marian F. Harrison, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee; and Newseum First Amendment Center Ombudsman and Vanderbilt University Law School professor David Hudson.

The Notre Dame University Law School won the competition with a team comprised of third-year law students Hope Tone, Shannon Lewry, and Kayla Clark. Second place went to Kelly Kearney and Michael Johnson of the Loyola Chicago School of Law. Kearney and Johnson also won the "Best Brief" award. The runners-up for "Best Brief" were Sarah Akhtar, Speare Hodges, and Sarah Barr of the Georgetown University Law Center.

The award for "Best Oralist" went to Jared Padway of the University of Wisconsin Law School. Patrick Hale from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University was the runner-up.

Michael Marusak and Patrick Elwell argued for CUA Law. They finished in the top eight teams after the quarter-final round. Professor Robert Destro coached the team.

The competition is the product of the merger of CUA Law's Sutherland Cup, the oldest continuous private moot court competition in the nation, and the Newseum's Seigenthaler Cup, now in its twenty-seventh year. CUA's competition is named for Supreme Court Justice George B. Sutherland; the Seigenthaler Cup is named for John Seigenthaler, founder of the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center.

CUA Law congratulates Chancellor Liam Phibbs, Vice Chancellor Yi Shen, faculty advisor Professor Sarah Duggin, our Moot Court Board, and our Newseum colleagues for a wonderful competition, as well as CUA team members Michael Marusak and Patrick Elwell for their excellent work as competitors. Our thanks to Newseum Institute and First Amendment Center Chief Operating Officer Gene Policinski, First Amendment Center Executive Director Lata Nott, Newseum Event Manager Ashlie Hampton, and Program Assistant Megan Bowers, and the many distinguished jurists, alumni, faculty, students, and staff who judged, competed in, prepared, and supported the 2017 Seigenthaler-Sutherland National Moot Court Competition!

Click here to view photos from the 2-day competition on our Facebook page.