Moot court at Rangeview

Feature Photo By: Mike Hamilton – All six of the Colorado preliminary round finalists of the The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project stand posed after their final round of arguing their cases in front of a panel of judges. 

By: Brianna Spence, Review Staff

For the last four years, Mike Hamilton, a former dean of students at Rangeview High School and current social studies teacher, has ensured that his students get the opportunity to participate in The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project.

This nationally recognized competition allows students from all over the country to experience what it feels like to analyze and interpret a recent legal case that, in the time period, lies undetermined.

CU Boulder’s Colorado Law explains that the, “event allows students to compete against their peers from other Colorado high schools in oral argument rounds judged by local lawyers and judges.”

Senior Raul Silva stands arguing his case in front of a panel of judges during the preliminary final round (Brianna Spence).

Hamilton has consistently encouraged his students to get involved and attend the competition since its opening in 2014.

Raul Silva, China Noeun, Lauryn Bradley, and Brianna Spence – all honor roll students – were chosen to visit the University of Colorado Boulder for the competition’s in-state preliminary round. The preliminary round consisted of participants across the state arguing both sides of the case Rodney v. Metro City High School.

The case involved Ava Rodney, a young transgender woman, filing a lawsuit against Metro City High School for violating her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by establishing a new bathroom policy and editing the school’s current dress code policy.

To allow students to argue both sides of the case, students were divided into two sides: the defendants and respondents of the case. Students had spent over a month both learning and preparing for the the preliminary round. Noeun explains that the most challenging aspects of the competition were, “preparation and professionalism.”

After a long day of defending their claims in what most students would agree to be a rigorous competition, the students came together to discuss their experiences before the finalists were announced. Noeun described the competition as it being, “good for those who want to go into law.”

Soon enough the event coordinator, Melissa Hart, gathered everyone’s attention. It was time for the competition’s finalists to be announced. With a list of names in her hand, nearly everyone’s eyes were glued on her.

Silva was one of the six names called as the competition’s finalists.

Senior Raul Silva, the only Rangeview representative chosen as the competition finalist, stands posed holding his reward certificate after the competition (Brianna Spence).

Hamilton wasn’t surprised in the slightest, “I thought Raul did an excellent job preparing himself before the competition,” he explained.

He and five other students will be heading out to Washington D.C. on Friday, March 23rd.

“There will be three rounds of arguments on Saturday, followed by the semifinal and final round on Sunday,” explained Silva.

Hamilton and Silva are ready to begin preparing for the upcoming competition. Despite being a little nervous, Raul is excited.

“I look forward to great things at the competition in D.C.,” Hamilton said.

Silva will be starting to prepare soon for the competition’s finals rounds. He says that he doesn’t care whether he wins or loses and that it’s the opportunity that matters.

For more information about the competition check out the links below:

https://www.colorado.edu/law/research/byron-white-center/marshall-brennan-project

https://www.wcl.american.edu/impact/initiatives-programs/marshallbrennan/

 

 

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