The organizers for the Spring 2017 Princeton Moot Court competition are Kyle Groves, Fritz Hillegas, and Amanda Li. This year's Spring tournament will be on April 28-29th. For more information and any other inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twice a year, Princeton Mock Trial hosts the Princeton Moot Court tournament for high schoolers. This 2-day long tournament sees hundreds of students from tens of schools compete against each other in the realm of Constitutional Law.
Moot court is a simulation of an appeals court or Supreme Court hearing. Teams of two “attorneys” prepare and present arguments on a legal case (like the constitutionality of health care) to a judge or judge panel. You’ll learn real case law, legal precedent, and how to argue like a Constitutional lawyer.
There are four preliminary rounds, followed by single-elimination out-rounds with the top 32 teams. The final two teams face off in front of a panel of nine justices, in a simulation of the Supreme Court.
Two teams compete against each other each round. One represents the petitioner and the other represents the respondent. The petitioner is the person who appeals the lower court decision. The respondent is the person who argues that the lower court decision was correct. Over the course of the tournament, teams will represent both sides.
Each team will have 20 minutes to speak during a round. The petitioner speaks first, and may reserve up to 8 minutes of their time for a rebuttal. The respondent then speaks for the entirety of their 20 minutes. Finally, the petitioner gives a rebuttal. Students should split up the speaking time evenly.
You should prepare at least 10 minutes of your presentation beforehand, but be careful not to fill up the entire 20 minutes with prepared material. You will have to respond to the points that the opponent made, and answer questions from the judge(s). During both team’s presentations, the judge will interrupt with questions. You should be well versed in the case law provided and able to think on your feet. The number of questions asked will vary from judge to judge. The judge will not ask questions in the first or last minute of a team’s overall time.
A good presentation will address each constitutional question and explain why your side offers the correct interpretation. To do this, rely heavily on both the Constitution and the case law provided. Be very clear about how you are interpreting the laws and precedent.