The Youngstown State University Moot Court will compete on Friday and Saturday in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s Annual Midwest Regional Tournament in Wooster for a chance to compete in the national competition.
During the competition, students will act as lawyers and will argue a predetermined constitutional issue in front of a Supreme Court-style panel of judges.
These students have been preparing for this event since the beginning of the semester – some even longer – and will earn course credit for their efforts.
Ron Slipski, senior partner with the Law Firm of Green Haines Sgambati and instructor of political science at YSU, instructs students on constitutional law and prepared competitors for the tournament.
“Every single team has the ability to advance to nationals,” Slipski said.
The Moot Court competition focuses on two hypothetical constitutional issues. Each competitor must be able to argue for either side of the issues.
The hypothetical constitutional issues, modeled after real-world disputes, that competitors will be debating this weekend surround a fictitious school named Olympus State University. Slipski said in one mock case, Olympus State University preferred male students in the admission process. The other involves a female student who started a female-only student organization.
Each team will have to participate in at least three rounds. In each round, teams will have limited time to speak in front of a panel of judges who engage the speaker in questioning and lively debate.
The respondent is asked to defend the university’s actions on both issues, and the petitioner is asked to prove that the university’s actions are unconstitutional.
“For a respondent, you are arguing on 14th Amendment that the program enacted by the university was constitutional in terms of the case law and the precedent we’ve been given,” said YSU freshmen Jacob Schriner-Briggs.