The most recent edition of our flagship intramural forensic competition was, as so often in the past, a display of supremely prepared and talented finalists, before the Justices of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, in our own courtroom. Nick Nybo had to make a tough argument: that the Supreme Court of the United States would create an exception to its controversial decision in Smith v. Oregon, and recognize a parent’s right to refuse to follow a school ban on foods that had religious significance to members of a small religious sect. Will Wray defended the rule as a legitimate, and constitutional, exercise of the state’s power to regulate the health of students in its public schools. Peppered with questions from a hot bench, it looked like a toss-up as the justices retired to deliberate. After returning and lavishing praise on both Nick and Will, Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg identified Nick as the overall winner, but the justices all commented on how close their decision was. The Court also announced that Will Wray won the Best Oralist Award, and Christa Harris picked up the honors for Best Brief.
The event was also the occasion to acknowledge the new members of our appellate advocacy honorary group the Moot Court Board (Greg Abilheira, Chet Jackson, Nikoletta Agouras, Christopher McNally, Allison Belknap, Leah Miraldi, Andy Covington, Rory Munns, Stephanie DeLuca, Brooklin Eleoff, and Pamela Ornstil), and after posing for pics, folks adjourned for a spirited reception in the nearby atrium.
Congratulations to all of the Moot Courters and thanks, once again, to the RI Supreme Court for its deep support of RWU Law.