What is Moot Court?
Moot court is a form of competitive debate that simulates advocacy to the Supreme Court. Each team is composed of two debaters who face off over a given case problem. The petitioner team represents the side that is appealing to the Supreme Court while the respondent team represents the side that is defending the lower court ruling. The case problem will usually address two constitutional issues pertaining to the facts of the case. Debaters on each side will split their duties by each defending their position regarding one of the constitutional issues in contention.
The American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) provides an excellent avenue for undergraduate moot court competitions. Every May, ACMA releases a new moot court problem to be debated for in the upcoming academic year. The problem provides the facts of the case, the ruling by the lower court, the dissent from the lower court, the two constitutional questions that the case rests upon, and a list of Supreme Court and circuit court cases that deal with the constitutional issues of the case. Moot court debaters are not allowed to cite additional cases outside of the cases provided in this list, unless those cases are cited within the cases provided in the list.
Ultimately, debaters who participate in moot court will be rewarded by the experience, regardless of their degree program. Moot court is an exercise that promotes strong critical thinking skills, public speaking, professionalism, and healthy competition. Thus, participation in moot court is a worthwhile supplement to any undergraduate student's education.