Moot Court Teams Return from First Amendment and Entertainment Law Competitions with Honors
Upholding its tradition in excellence in the Moot Court arena, Southwestern's teams excelled at the Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition held in early November in Washington, D.C., as well as at the Tenth Annual National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition held in mid-November at Pepperdine Law School in Malibu.
In the competition, Southwestern's team represented a law school that was sued by a religious student organization, Lawyers for Christ (LFC). The law school denied LFC official recognition, claiming that the organization's bylaws requiring all members to sign a faith pledge condemning sexual activity outside of marriage, including homosexual conduct. The law school contended that these rules discriminated against homosexuals and violated the school's policy. LFC claimed that the school's actions violated both its First Amendment right to expressive association and the Establishment Clause. "As counsel for the school, we argued that the school did not violate LFC's expressive association rights because the school's policy permissibly regulates conduct, not speech," Romano said. "Similarly, the school's policy comports with the Establishment Clause because the policy was neutral, generally applicable, and did not promote or prohibit any particular religion."
Romano, a third-year day student, said that dealing with the "hard" facts of the problem was a challenge. "There were a few facts in the problem that seemed completely against our side but we were creative and addressed them - either arguing why those facts were irrelevant or why they were actually favorable to our side. I guess that is the art (and the fun!) of appellate advocacy."
Preparation, experience (Francescon, who serves as Moot Court Chair, is also a third-year day student, and Bidrossian is in SCALE II) and teamwork helped Southwestern's trio prepare. "Our team got along famously which I think really gave us the edge. We were all so positive and so supportive of each other throughout the entire process that by the time we got to competition we were really ready to compete - both substantively and mentally."
Romano also credits Professor Carpenter and Board Advisor Lindsay Harrell's contributions to the team's success. "This team worked incredible hard and very well together from the first moment that the problem was received," Professor Carpenter said. "Their chemistry was terrific."