White Center Hosts High School Competition

February 1, 2012

On Saturday, January 28, the Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law hosted the first Colorado Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project Moot Court Competition.  35 area high school students spent the day at the Law School arguing before lawyers and law students.  The high school students had been coached by the 2011-2012 Marshall-Brennan Fellows, a group of law students who have been teaching constitutional law in high school classrooms since September 2011.

In the final round of argument, the six top participants presented their arguments to a panel of judges that included U.S. District Court Judges Christine Arguello and William Martinez and Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Robert Russel.

On March 29, 2012, ten top students from the Colorado event will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Marshall-Brennan Moot Court Competition.  The ten students are from Bruce Randolph High School in Denver; Lyons High School in Lyons; and Mapleton Early College, North Valley High School and York International in the Mapleton School District in Thornton.

The legal problem argued by the high school students presented the question whether sentencing a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole for a felony murder violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  Over the course of the school year, the Marshall-Brennan Fellows have worked with the students on preparing this problem and also on studying other areas of constitutional law and in particular considering how constitutional rights and responsibilities apply differently in schools and to kids.

For more information, please contact Melissa Hart.