Southwestern's National Moot Court Team Earns Second Place and Advances to National Rounds
On November 8 and 9, at a regional round of the National Moot Court Competition, which was held at Southwestern, the team of oralists Nita Lee and Emma Lord and writer Marguerite Sanvictores performed superbly, finishing second overall out of 13 teams. After going undefeated in the preliminary rounds, Southwestern's team beat the University of San Diego in the quarterfinals, topped Pepperdine in the semifinals and finished second to Loyola in the final round. For finishing in the top two spots, Southwestern's team will travel to New York in February for the National Final Rounds.
"The team's outstanding performance was the product of a fine brief, also ranked second overall, and excellent oral advocacy performances," according to Professor Ronald Aronovsky, who coached Southwestern's team.
Sanvictores estimates that she spent more than 12 hours a day working on the brief during the three weeks she had to prepare it. "What was the most helpful was the support of my teammates and Moot Court members," she said. She credits her teammates Lee and Lord for researching the issue so well that it provided her with an excellent foundation of the law.
The oralists' hard work paid off, too. They received perfect 10 scores for their advocacy from various judges in every single round. "The success of our team was truly a team effort," Lee said. "Marguerite is a sophisticated and persuasive writer, Emma is a fantastic oral advocate, and Professor Aronovsky is a wonderful advisor and mentor, who gave our team endless support and encouragement throughout the competition. We held 14 practice rounds and practiced every day for two and half weeks. We could not have done it without the support of faculty and alumni and the amazing Moot Court program members."
The case the advocates argued involved both the First Amendment and the dormant Commerce Clause. The First Amendment issue examined whether a state can compel retailers to post a sign, warning about the negative health effects of sodas, for the purpose of reducing obesity. The second issue concerned the effects of a unique mark requirement for beverage containers on interstate commerce that criminalized the sale of marked containers outside of the state for the purpose of eliminating fraudulent redemption and promoting the environmental welfare of the state.
Pictured above: The team with final bench judges (from left to right) Charles Stern, Esq., representing the American Trial Lawyers Association; Hon. Scott Gordon '85, Supervising Judge, Family Law Division, LA Superior Court; Hon. Otis Wright '80, Judge, U.S. District Court, Central District of California; Hon. Paul Turner, Presiding Justice, California Courts of Appeal, Second District; and Justice J. Gary Hastings '72, Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal, Second District (Ret.)