West Long Branch, N.J. (November 25, 2015) After only three years with a moot court program, Monmouth University has advanced a team to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) National Championship Tournament. Political science seniors Nicholas Whittaker and Joseph Talafous will be representing Monmouth at the national tournament hosted by California State University at Long Beach on Jan. 15-16, 2016.
Three Monmouth teams competed on Nov. 20-21 in the ACMA qualifying regional hosted by Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Mass. The teams consisted of Janaya Lewinski and Emily Argano; John Stout and Erin Brown; and Nick Whittaker and Joe Talafous.
In the nation’s largest ACMA regional tournament, Monmouth students competed among 54 teams across 13 universities including the University of Connecticut, Suffolk University, SUNY Courtland, Merrimack College, Patrick Henry College and St. Thomas University.
All 54 teams competed in three preliminary rounds on Nov. 20 when Whittaker and Talafous finished 6-0 in the preliminaries before continuing on to the playoffs on Nov. 21. The team was eliminated later that day in round 16, but an overall finish in 10th place qualified them for a seed at the national tournament.
The undergraduate moot court competition, which is one of the nation’s largest undergraduate forensic competitions, builds skills not only critical for those students continuing on to law school but invaluable also for public speaking, critical discourse and career engagement.
This academic year, teams are addressing the case, Kedesh College and A.R.H. v. United States in a mock Supreme Court environment. It involves two constitutional issues involving a fictitious federal law called the “Fair Education Act” with two petitioners – a school whose “educational mission” is to admit undocumented aliens and a student who was denied admission because of the Act. The school is bringing a First Amendment Free Exercise challenge, and the student is bringing a Fifth Amendment Equal Protection challenge. Each team of two is charged with formulating arguments for both the petitioner and respondent sides.
In addition, Monmouth University will be hosting the Second Annual Jersey Shore “Hawk” Mock Trial Invitational on Dec. 5-6. The mock trial team’s regional competition will be in February 2016.
For more information, contact Professor Greg Bordelon at Bordelon@monmouth.edu.