Regent University hosted the Mid Atlantic American Moot Court Association (AMCA) tournament the weekend of November 4, 2016. Students in the Regent University Debate Association (RUDA) from the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) registered five teams, two of which earned third and fourth place in the regional competition. Three students, Alexandria Cross, Ronald Pantalena, and Christopher Mateer, received top-10 speaker awards.
“I think the students did very well,” said Dr. Nick Higgins, CAS assistant professor and RUDA sponsor. “We will have two teams that will be invited to go to the national tournament in Florida in January. Now we are just working with them to refine their arguments, looking at where the judges poked holes in them, and create a better way to go about and ensure we, Lord willing, have victory in Florida.”
Eleven RUDA students competed in teams of two. They presented arguments about voter ID laws, and whether they violate the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gender played a role in this year’s AMCA scenario by presenting a fictitious case where a woman was denied her right to vote after marrying, changing her name, and attempting to vote before she could obtain a new ID. New for this year, competitors had to prove they had standing to bring about a lawsuit before a judge would hear the scenario case.
Competitors came to the annual tournament at Regent from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, George Washington University, James Madison University, Bridgewater College, Patrick Henry College, and Liberty University. Judges determined speaker awards based on knowledge of case facts, legal reasoning, and the manner in which contestants presented themselves while facing pressure from judges. Points were awarded in these categories, and then aggregated.
“These students have been working anywhere from three to six hours per week just on presenting their arguments to myself and Lindsey Gilman, a third year law school student who helps coach them,” said Higgins. “She and I are there two to three days per week, and we have students come and give arguments to us, and we badger them back and forth like they would at a tournament. The students do their own legal research and prepare their own arguments, and they’ve been doing this since the first week of school.”
RUDA students who succeeded at the regional tournament took a few days off, but are preparing for a national tournament at Stetson University in Florida in January. RUDA typically focuses on Moot Court in the fall, but may expand to do policy debates in the spring. Higgins says students enjoyed the regional competition and are looking forward to competing again next year.
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