Morehouse Moot Court Team: (l-r) Rodje Malcolm, Winfield Murray– Moot Court Team coach, and Emanuel Waddell. (Photo Courtesy of Twitter)
The Morehouse College Moot Court team beat out hundreds of contenders to become the first historically Black institution to earn a national title in the law skills competition.
Morehouse defeated seven-time champion Patrick Henry College, 3-2, to claim top honors at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s 2014-2015 national championship Jan. 16 and 17 at Florida International University in Miami.
The fledgling Morehouse team, comprised of Rodje Malcolm and Emmanuel Waddell, was the only HBCU squad in the competition. They were also the only team in the nation that earned a perfect win record for the entire academic year.
“Rodje and Emanuel are stellar students who worked extremely hard to win this competition,” the team’s coach, Winfield Murray, said in a statement. “They represented Morehouse superbly and without fault.”
The championship was decided by arguments presented in the imaginary case of Andrea Sommerville and William DeNolf v. State of Olympus, in which the plaintiffs challenged a law, “Proposition 417” that mandated women to take a trans-vaginal ultrasound and doctors to offer individual scripted counselling before having an abortion.
Sommerville, who was one of those patients, challenged the law, saying it violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment because it requires an unnecessary medical procedure as a pre-condition to procuring an abortion. She was joined in the complaint by her physician, Dr DeNolf, who claimed the law violates the First Amendment because it compels him to express political, moral, medical, and scientific sentiments that are not his own.
Murray, the Morehouse coach, said the moot court is a wonderful training opportunity.
“Schools across the country have recognized that moot court better prepares students for law school and law careers than any other forensic program,” he said. “Students have to understand judicial precedent, how to brief case law, how to argue appellate matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and how to address a tribunal en banc. These skills are normally taught in law school, so we are well ahead of the curve in preparing our lawyers of tomorrow.”
For more information about the American Collegiate Moot Court Association and its tournaments, visit: http://www.acmamootcourt.org/