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2:09PM

Chief Justice Roberts presides over inaugural moot court competition

Illustration by Camille Shumann
By Anthony Ruiz /// Sports Editor

 

Lewis & Clark College Northwestern School of Law inaugurated its first ever Environmental
Moot Court Advocate of the Year Competition on April 5 in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel. With
lines stretching from the Chapel to the Frank Manor House, hundreds of eager law students,
graduates and other professionals packed the recently renovated venue which featured sitting
Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts. Chief Justice Roberts is the highest ranking
federal official to visit LC since President Gerald Ford came to Palatine Hill in 1975. Roberts,
along with Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain and Judge Anna Brown (’80), presided over the
inaugural competition.

 

Three members of LC’s environmental law team that finished second at a national
competition at Pace University School of Law in New York last November participated in the
inaugural event. Third-year law school students Andy Erickson, Maggie Hall and Meredith Price
(’07) each had 25 minutes to argue their case in front of the Supreme Court Justice, allowing for
1-minute rebuttals at the end. The students argued a fictional yet complex case surrounding the
Clean Water Act and endured 32 practice rounds in preparing for the event.

 

“Today is an extraordinary day for the College and even more for students who get to
argue in front of the Chief Justice,” said President Barry Glassner. “Not many students in the
world get to do that.”

 

Soon to be double alumna, Price won the competition, receiving the highest of praise
from the judges for her eye contact, poise and patience under tough questioning.
During her time at LC, Price was vice president of the Student Academic Affairs Board,
participated in a national debate tournament and was selected as the senior speaker in 2007.

 

At the conclusion of the event, Chief Justice Roberts said that he “enjoyed it very
much” and was generally impressed by the composure of the participants throughout. Judge
O’Scannlain said that all three participants would be among the top echelon of lawyers he dealt
with on a daily basis and encouraged them to apply to work in the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals the minute they pass the bar.

 

In the afternoon prior to the competition, Chief Justice Roberts surprised three first-year
legal writing classrooms with a visit. The Chief Justice asked Dean of the Law School Robert
Klonoff for names and pictures of students so that he could memorize their faces and cold call on
them during class just as the professors would do. First-year law student Michael Cowgill was
one of the students the Chief Justice called on during the surprise class visits. The Florida native
admitted to being initially shocked when the Chief Justice called his name, but said that he felt
prepared and that the he will remember the moment for some time to come.

 

Associate Professor of Law Aliza Kaplan said that the Chief Justice must have looked at
her syllabus prior to class since he immediately began asking and fielding questions as if it were
a normal day. “We were shell-shocked at first,” said Kaplin, who had no prior knowledge that
her classroom would be visited by the 17th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

After judging the competition, Chief Justice Roberts made his way over to Stamm for a
post-reception event. The Chief Justice bumped elbows with a buzzing room as participants were
honored, drinks were served and the LC community reflected on the enormity of the events that
had transpired.

 

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Reader Comments (1)

> Subject: Freedom of the press/Censorship
>
> Mr. Klonoff,
> I read with interest the Oregonian article, "Chief justice visit ruffles school's free press", in which you are quoted as saying you were sorry for your actions.
> I'm not sure your camouflage of an apology is enough. I hope you are planning a more detailed apology to the student journalist and your student body.
> You have trampled the crucial role played by the press in this country.
> As Brennan characterized, [your] school's censorship is indefensible: "Such unthinking contempt for individual rights is intolerable from any........official. It is particularly insidious from one to whom the public entrusts the task of inculcating in its youth an appreciation for the cherished democratic liberties that our Constitution guarantees."
> I am ashamed of your behavior and I hope you are too.
> Shame on you.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> William Rice
>
> 4818 SE Woodward St.
> Portland, OR 97206
> 971-506-4371

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Rice

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