BY KATIE MAPES
The Oliver Hill Memorial Team won the 96th Ames Moot Court Competition Wednesday night. The competition was presided over by Justice Antonin Scalia. He was joined on the bench by Judge Debra A. Livingston of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Carlos F. Lucero of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Tejinder Singh, a member of the Belva Ann Lockwood Memorial Team, won the award for Best Oralist and the Oliver Hill Memorial Team was awarded “Best Brief.”
At the close of the competition, the judges uniformly praised the oralists. Justice Scalia stated that the “presentation here is comparable to what I would expect either on the D.C. Circuit or the Supreme Court,” although he then added, to general laughter, that there were a few regular advocates before the Court who were better.
The participants argued the case of Worldwide People’s Temple v. Lucille Rasmussen, an employment discrimination case, which asked whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can validly issue a “right to sue letter” fewer than 180 days after a charge of discrimination under Title VII, and whether a “ministerial exception” creates immunity for a religious organization from employment discrimination claims.
The Ames Court room was filled to capacity; those seats that weren’t reserved in advance for particular attendees were filled by students who waited upwards of an hour and a half to be admitted. Others lined the walls and filled overflow rooms downstairs where the arguments were shown on closed circuit television.
The Ames Moot Court Competition is an annual event at Harvard Law School dating to 1911. Entrants compete first in a qualifying round, the top four teams advancing to a Semifinal round. The winners of those Semifinals compete in the Finals during the fall of their 3L year.
This year, the members of the Oliver Hill Memorial Team were oralists Frederick Fedynyshyn and Adam Hosmer-Henner, as well as Shannon Delahaye, Joseph Dvorkin, Yelena Konanova, and David Oliwenstein. The Belva Ann Lockwood Memorial Team consisted of oralists Singh and Elizabeth Barchas, and Miriam Achtenberg, Chiraag Bains, Daniel Klaff, and Amy Mendenhall.