photo of Charles Knerr with Drake students Katharine Willey and Siva Kasinathan
ACMCA founder Charles Knerr, the Drake team of Katharine Willey and Siva Kasinathan and Dean David Walker celebrate Drake’s second best brief award.

Drake takes second in national moot court brief writing contest

Drake University’s moot court team of Siva Kasinathan and Katharine Willey won second place in the brief writing contest for petitioner at the 2008 national tournament of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association.

The tournament, which was hosted by Drake Law School on Jan. 18-19, brought 128 undergraduate students from 29 colleges and universities across the country to Des Moines to present legal arguments on appeal in a hypothetical case before the United States Supreme Court. The 64 teams competing were selected through a series of regional contests.

“Drake Law School was an outstanding host for the tournament,” said ACMCA President Paul Weizer. “The attorneys and students who volunteered their time to serve as judges did an excellent job. Their preparation and commitment were essential to the success of this event and this was arguably the finest national tournament our organization has staged.”

Willey, a sophomore from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Kasinathan, a senior from Brandon, S.D., were defeated after making it to the top 16.

The top 32 teams competed in round four and the 16 winners advanced to round five. The top eight teams competed in the quarterfinals and the winning four teams moved on to the semifinals.


photo of David Walker, Mark Weaver and College of Wooster students Katharine McCarthy and Drew Glass
Dean David Walker (left) and Mark Weaver of the College of Wooster congratulate 2008 ACMCA moot court champions Katharine McCarthy and Drew Glassroth of the College of Wooster.

The College of Wooster team of Katharine McCarthy and Drew Glassroth beat the Patrick Henry College team of William Glaser and Rebekah Sies in the championship round.

“McCarthy and Glassroth entered the tournament as champions of the Midwest region,” Weizer added. “Glaser and Sies earned their spot in the national tournament via their runner-up finish at the Western Regional tournament, which was won by Drake’s team of Siva Kasinathan and Katharine Willey.”

Drake University was also represented by a team of Nate Koppel, a senior from Naperville, Ill., majoring in politics and philosophy; and Natalie Stoltz, a senior from Arvada, Colo., majoring in law, politics and society.

Also participating in the tournament were judges consisting of Drake Law School faculty members, alumni, judges and attorneys as well as second- and third-year law students with moot court experience.

Among those judging for the semi-final round were:

•    Judges Anuradha Vaitheswaran and Larry Eisenhauer from the Iowa Court of Appeals,

•    Chief Judge Arthur Gamble from the Iowa District Court for the Fifth Judicial District

•    Judge Carla Schemmel from the Fifth Judicial District

The championship round was judged by:

•    Iowa Supreme Court Justices Mark Cady, Michael Streit and David Wiggins

•    Senior Judge and former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Louis Lavorato

•    Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa Robert Pratt.

“We were very impressed with the preparation and quality of advocacy of the students who participated in the national tournament, and we were grateful for the strong support we received from law students and law faculty and the legal community as well,” Walker said. “We’re especially honored to have such distinguished judges involved in the selection of those competing in the Championship Round and the national champion.”

The top 32 teams were recognized at an awards banquet on Saturday. In addition, awards were presented to the top 10 oralists as well as the top six teams that submitted the best briefs. The top 10 oralists will each receive scholarships of $9,000 to Drake Law School, conditional upon application and admission to the school.

The case involved an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of a Court of Appeals decision regarding a father who home-schooled his three children and worked as a part-time gunsmith out of his home. The father was charged with violating the federal Gun Free School Zone Act of 1997.

The appeal hinged on whether the law applied to the father and, if so, whether the law violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.  A third key issue was whether Congress exceeded its constitutional powers granted by the Commerce Clause when it enacted the law. The case was based upon one that has been accepted by the United States Supreme Court for review this term.