Moot Court Teams Take Home Honors

Moot Court Members
Brandon Beck, Tori Burke, Douglas Horn, Roma Diseati, Kevin Kehne, and Tom Dossey

October turned out to be an exciting month, with many Moot Court wins for Scalia Law to celebrate!

First, in the Moot Court Board’s first in-person extramural contest since March 2020, national team members Roma Diseati, Tom Dossey, and Kevin Kehne prevailed over 35 other teams to win the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition at Elon Law School. The live streamed final round took place before North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls, and other members of the North Carolina state and federal benches.

The contest problem, styled Advocates for Fair Admissions Practices v. University of North Greene, was patterned on two real cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 31, in which the challengers argue that the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit consideration of race in college admissions. Diseati, Dossey, and Kehne won all six of their matches, arguing both sides of the case over the course of two days.

Scalia Law’s other National Team members, Brandon Beck, Doug Horn, and Tori Burke, also did well in the event, advancing to the octofinal round. Both teams will now turn their attention to the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Contest to be held in late winter and spring. The teams are coached by Adjunct Professors Ernie Isenstadt and Brandy Wagstaff.

Upper Class Competition
Cala Coffman, Hon. Thomas Mann, Hon. Anthony Trenga, Hon. Stuart Raphael, Kiley Gomez

Then on October 22 forty-four Scalia Law students competed in seven intense rounds at the school’s upper-class moot court competition. Cala Coffman and Kiley Gomez emerged victorious, arguing for which approach the First Circuit should take on Establishment Clause questions raised in view of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.

The problem presented two issues: whether a school board meeting is a legislative or school setting, and whether a school board coerced students and parents into participating in religious expression. Virginia Supreme Court Justice Thomas Mann and Judges Anthony Trenga and Stuart Raphael, Eastern District of Virginia, presided.

Justice Mann praised Coffman’s performance as “remarkable” and said “it does not get much better than that.” Judge Trenga remarked on Gomez’s “consistent poise under challenging questions.”

Moot Court Win
Daniel Thetford, Stuart Spooner, and Raymond Yang

Then the following weekend 3L’s Daniel Thetford, Stuart Spooner, and Raymond Yang captured first place in the Notre Dame Religious Freedom Tournament in the Moot Court Board’s second extramural contest of the season, bringing home another win for Scalia Law. The event, held Oct. 28-30 in South Bend, Ind., included 14 teams from across the country. The final round was presided over by Judges Ryan Nelson (9th Cir.), David Stras (8th Cir.), and Kathryn Kimball Mizelle (M.D. Fla.).

The contest problem, styled St. Agatha’s High School v. State of Hoynes, involved a Catholic high school that fired a science instructor for out-of-school comments questioning the authority of the Pope. After the state fined the school for religion-based employment discrimination, the school sued the state for violating its First Amendment right to theological self-determination. Added to the mix was a state grant program supporting STEM education, from which St. Agatha’s was excluded because its science class included lectures on creationism and the Shroud of Turin using state-funded projection equipment.

“I was very impressed by the students’ ability to master some very complicated issues in a short time and argue both sides persuasively,” said the team’s coach, Adjunct Professor Ernie Isenstadt. “They worked hard and their success is well deserved.”

Please join us in congratulating our Moot Court Teams on their many awards.