As Melissa Holsinger (’04) made her argument in the annual Orison S. Marden Moot Court Competition, she was interrupted by one of the competition’s distinguished judges, Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He quizzed her about which precedent justified the plaintiff in challenging a school district. Although this question was not central to her argument, Holsinger was able to answer it effectively, and even held her own as the judges debated a topic among themselves. “May I jump in?” she asked. Judge John Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York responded affably: “Jump in any time.”
The four competition finalists, Holsinger; Ion Hazzikostas (’04), who won the “Best Brief” award in the semifinals; Peter Lallas (’04); and Amnon Siegel (’04), the winner of the “Best Brief” award in the preliminary rounds, briefed and argued cases in preliminary rounds before advancing to a second round as semifinalists. The semifinals were held before local judges and attorneys. The top four students were then assigned a new side of the argument to be argued in the final round before Kozinski, Koeltl, and Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
After rebuttals, the judges retired to chambers and emerged to pronounce the appellants victorious in the case, and to name Holsinger the best oralist. They praised all the finalists, calling for a round of applause in their honor.
Dean Richard Revesz presented Holsinger with the Marden Moot Court Award for Best Oralist. The competitors, which each year includes both second- and third-year students, joined the dean, judges, and members of the Moot Court Board to celebrate the competition and the accomplishments of the board.