Marden Minutes: Tales from the Inside
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes during a moot court competition? Below is my (hopefully) entertaining and informative account of the final arguments for the Orison S. Marden Moot Court Board Competition.
I run out of Professor Erin Murphy’s Evidence class feeling invigorated and refreshed from having just learned about the forbidden and permissible uses of impeachment evidence. And by “invigorated and refreshed,” I mean more like I need a shower desperately, because carting around four classes’ worth of material on a unseasonably warm spring day has made me extremely sweaty. I am determined to go to Marden as non-sweaty as possible.
Back at D’Agostino Hall. I have a package waiting for me in the kitchen! There’s only one thing that I love more than having packages delivered right to my room by the lovely D’Agostino housing staff, and that’s when packages containing exactly what I need for the day arrive. Today, it’s my all-natural deodorant. Yes, I splurged on deodorant. It’s the simple pleasures in law school that make the days worthwhile and hygenic.
I think I just hit a new personal best in grooming preparation time. I head down to Vanderbilt Hall, where Moot Court Board officers wait for me. As a co-writer of the competition’s fact pattern, I get certain perks, including a commanding knowledge of the Miranda booking exception and also an invitation to mingle with the judges before and after the competition.
Mingling is in full swing. We’re in the dean’s office! I introduce myself to Judge Albert Diaz ’88 from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Judge Raymond Kethledge (United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit) and Judge Kimba Wood (United States District Court for the Southern District of New York) arrive shortly thereafter, along with the new incoming dean of the law school, Professor Trevor Morrison. All this excitement has made me completely unable to eat the cheesy breadsticks that the event staff have set out for us. I have no regrets, but my stomach does a couple of hours later.
We head down to Greenberg Lounge, where competitors and spectators await us. I pat myself on the back for making it this far. (Down four flights of stairs in heels, that is….)
All four finalists voluntarily decide to gather in front of the judges’ table to take a group picture. When students at the New York University School of Law are not slinging verbal arrows at each other about constitutional rights, they are best buddies! Prospective students, take note. One of the spectators behind me also has a Marden bingo board with her, courtesy of one of the competitors. Incoming Moot Court Board officers, take note.
The arguments begin! The two issues presented are (1) whether the “routine booking” exception to Miranda applies to questions about a suspect’s property during the booking process, and (2) whether a suspect compelled to provide unencrypted data can invoke the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
I start getting excited when the judges bring up facts in the record that I have oh-so-carefully crafted. I also giggle a little bit when some competitors say “Corgstland County.” Sources close to me can tell you that it may have to do with the fact that I am in love with corgis, especially Lawyer Dog. I will neither confirm nor deny this.
I remind myself that these competitors have real names and should be referred to as Ridiculously Talented Advocates (kind of like the Ridiculously Photogenic Guy but for legal issues, not marathons).
The judges have exited Greenberg Lounge, which means that Professor Samuel Rascoff can now begin his stand-up routine. Just kidding. He’s here to announce some awards for the competitors and Moot Court Board members, and then, in his words, “do three cartwheels afterwards.” Okay, in all seriousness, he’s a pretty amusing professor and manages to keep us entertained as we await the results.
Zoey Orol ’13 receives the Orison S. Marden Award for Best Oralist. An instant standing ovation! Congratulations to Zoey! Definitely memorable: the look on her parents’ faces when she gets the award.
The judges sing their praises to the competitors and to the problem authors! I resist the urge to run across the room and fist-bump my co-author, Mark Young ’14. Don’t worry, we fist-bump after the competition ends.
Time for dinner with the judges, the outgoing and incoming executive board members, finalists, and school administrators! We are in Snow Dining Room for this occasion, and the setup is best described as “fancy,” or more accurately, “delicious.” As per tradition, we go around the table and introduce ourselves before digging in.
Two members of the outgoing board toast each other to finishing their duties for Moot Court Board. Stay classy, 3Ls, stay classy.
I leave the dinner with a full stomach, a sense of fulfillment, and an immense amount of pride for being on Moot Court. Tomorrow, I help the 1Ls on their oral argument assignment for Lawyering. Looks like the moot goes on, and on…. Until then, this is Tracy, signing off from the law school that never sleeps (close to exam time, that is!).