California State University, Fullerton

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Undergrads Head to National Moot Court Contest

Jan. 16, 2013

Five Cal State Fullerton student teams are on their way to Virginia this weekend to participate in mock court trials in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association 2013 National Tournament.
 
The teams, who earned bids to compete in the national tournament at recent regional competitions are:   
• criminal justice major Jacob Gomez of Placentia and political science major Michelle Freeman of Fullerton,
• political science majors Keith Fierro of San Bernardino and Lauren Allen of Orange,
• criminal justice major Mercedes Castro of Ontario and communications major Kristin Hayes of Tustin,
• political science majors Amy Bailey of Fullerton and Michael Slobom of Huntington Beach and
• sociology and women’s studies major Bree-Anna McCalley of Rancho Cucamonga and political science major Speros Mantas of Anaheim.
 
Moot court, or mock Supreme Court, is a simulation of an appellate court proceeding. The student contestants represent their clients with briefs and oral arguments before a panel of judges. All contestants argue the same hypothetical case. This year’s case asks whether a university’s preferential admissions program, which provides extra weight to male applicants in order to balance its student body, violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution; and whether the university in question violated petitioner’s right to free association under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
 
This year’s team members and their coach, Pamela Fiber-Ostrow, associate professor of political science, have been preparing for competition for months.
 
“I am very proud of how much these students have applied themselves and their hard work,” said Fiber-Ostrow, who was named Best Moot Court Team Coach at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association regional competition in Fitchburg, Mass., in November. “They've committed hours and hours of their own personal time outside of class to make this happen and I expect it to pay off for them at Regent University School of Law this weekend.”
 
Also receiving awards at the Fitchburg regionals were 27-year-old Gomez, who took first place as Best Orator, and 21-year-old Freeman, who ranked as sixth Best Orator. 
 
“I can describe moot court as a beautifully painful process, which does not assist in a student’s growth, but forces it upon them,” said Gomez, a Navy veteran and CSUF President’s Scholar. “The process is painful and difficult, but in the end yields outstanding results, sharpening a student’s confidence, public speaking skills, and overall intelligence.”
 
Freeman agreed, adding that she and Gomez are fortunate to be coached by Fiber-Ostrow and a number of other CSUF professors, alumni and attorneys who volunteer their services on weekends.

By: Mimi Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586

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