Scalia to Judge Moot Court

Scalia to Judge Moot Court

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will preside over the finals of the Wendell F. Grimes Moot Court competition at Boston College Law School on April 14.

It will be first time in 30 years that a sitting Supreme Court justice has participated in the annual mock trial competition for second-year law students at BC.

Scalia will serve as chief justice on a three-judge panel in the competition, to be held at 3 p.m. in Stuart Hall East Wing 115 on the Newton campus.

Also serving on the panel will be Paul J. Barbadoro, JD '80, chief judge of the US District Court in New Hampshire, and Judge Sandra Lynch of the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We are thrilled to have Justice Scalia coming for our Moot Court finals," said BC Law Dean John Garvey. "It will be a great draw for the event, an incentive for the participants, and a stimulus for the program in future years. And it is an honor for the school."

The Grimes Moot Court, sponsored annually by the Board of Student Advisors at BC Law, is an in-house competition in which second-year students argue mock cases in trial settings.

This year's trial questions revolve around the use of tuition vouchers in public education. Law students will present arguments in the fictional case of a teacher who has sued the school board over the use of state tuition vouchers at private religious schools and at public single-sex schools.

Thirty-seven teams of two students apiece compete in the tournament, which operates much like the bracketed NCAA basketball playoffs. A semifinal on April 6 will determine which two teams argue for the championship in Scalia's court a week later.

Board of Student Advisors member Paul Montuori, a third-year student who was on last year's winning team, predicted this year's finalists will be battling butterflies in the stomach as they argue their cases before a Supreme Court justice in a packed hall.

"I was stressed out last year when there were about 150 people in the room," Montuori mused. "This year there will be about 300. This is going to be far worse. I don't envy them."

The experience has primed BC students for success in similar competitions on the regional and national levels.

A team of third-year students from BC Law won the regionals of the National Moot Court competition this past November. In 1998, another BC team won the J. Braxton Craven National Moot Court Competition in Constitutional Law, one of the most respected competitions of its type in the country.

The last time BC Law hosted a Supreme Court justice for a moot court competition was the late 1960s, when justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall visited at the invitation of then-Dean Robert Drinan, SJ.

- Law School Communications Manager Nathaniel Kenyon contributed to this story.


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