Emory Wins Religion and Law Moot Court

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Emory University School of Law won first place in the first National Religion & The Law Moot Court Competition, held April 10 at Touro Law Center in Central Islip, New York.

Drew Stevens 14L, Chris Manzer 15L, Zach Eyster 14L, and Drew Bolender 14L represented Emory, with Stevens and Manzer dominating in the semifinal and final rounds. Mark Goldfeder coached the team to its championship finish.

The team dedicated its performance to Hal Berman, Frank Alexander and John Witte, Jr. “We are all Professor Witte’s students,” Goldfeder said, “and as we walked into a federal court getting ready to argue the ‘weighty matters of law and religion and the ways they interact,’ we could definitely feel his influence.”

Emory competed against 13 teams from law schools around the country, including the University of Michigan, Hofstra, and St. Johns.

The teams argued whether a local government violates the Establishment Clause by opening town council sessions with prayer, notwithstanding the absence of discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers or forbidden exploitation of the prayer opportunity. The problem was loosely based on Town of Greece v. Galloway, argued before the Supreme Court in November 2013. The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling on May 5 giving limited approval to public prayers at the New York town’s board meetings.

The team plans to hang its plaque in CSLR’s Berman Library.

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