Thursday, March 23, 2006


About fifteen minutes ago, I met the attorney who litigated Roe v. Wade: Ms. Sarah Weddington, of the University of Texas-Austin. She delivered the 24th Annual Edith House Lecture, which is named for one of the first two women to graduate from the UGA School of Law (in 1925), who was also co-valedictorian of her class. Ms. Weddington's lecture was on leadership in general and on her experience as a woman in the legal profession. I must remark Ms. Weddington is a compelling and affable figure. However, I will not endeavor to convey my impression of her; by reciting the following two facts, I leave you to form your own.

Roe was the first case in which Ms. Weddington's litigated a contested issue.

When the Supreme Court handed down its 7-2 decision in that case in 1973, Ms. Weddington was twenty-six.

At the reception after her lecture, I asked her a question with a somewhat ulterior motive: what she did to prepare for Roe. Her answer was simple: she got everyone she could to read over her brief, every organization that would to file amicus briefs, and every law student, attorney and professor that would to moot the case with her. (Mooting a case is similar to rehearsing a play. You have people fill in the roles of the justices and opposing counsel and you practice arguing your case.) She mused over whether her former professors participated so enthusiastically because they hoped she would win (which she said she doubts) or because they simply enjoyed pretending to be Supreme Court justices.

The ulterior motive: I am currently engaged in a Moot Court competition here in Athens. Every 1L participated in the first round. I made it to the Round of 64, and this morning discoverd that I had proceeded to the Round of 32. Though none of us know entirely what to expect, the justices for next weeks' Rounds of 32, 16 and 8 will likely be mooted by 2Ls and 3Ls who are on Georgia's Moot Court team, and possibly the professor in charge of that program. For the Semi-Final Round, the justices will be mooted by several of our professors. For The Final Round, the justices might well be mooted by actual justices and judges.

Though I am thankful to have advanced thus far, I do not expect to advance beyond next week. Last night, arguing in the Round of 64, I was uncomfortably nervous for reasons I cannot describe. And all I was doing was arguing a hypothetical case before the Supreme Court of Lumpkin, which was comprised of three individuals who are either close to the same age or who are the same age as I am:



petallic said...

Congratulations. Well-deserved, I'm sure.

dadvocate said...

Good luck. I wish I could give you some advice but I'm not an attorney. BUT, I like one thing in the movie, A Civil Action, never ask "why".

My sister, who is an attorney, always likes a sneak attack. Don't show your hand until it's too late for the other side to effectively respond.

S.A.W.B. said...

I swear on all holy Christ that if by some miracle of divine intervention, you make it to the Moot finals, paT and I will have a special surprise for you.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Hey, kiddo, good work. Don't be nervous. You are cooler than the kids you are presenting stuff to.

Just don't tell SAWB about where the moot finals are, he may try to compel me to do something the Pops would kill me for.

I'm sure it would involve a big, red, foam gavel and facepaint.

Laddi said...

Aw, Patrick, he'd be a shoe-in to win. His opponent won't know what hit him!

O-VER-RUL-ED! *step-step-stepstepstep*



Who wouldn't find that intimidating? pb would be a lock! For one, those fat, a-holes would be doing him some good. ;-)

Laddi said...

oh, and to pb, congrats!

S.A.W.B. said...

Would shaking our keys at the loser be taking it too far?

Patrick Armstrong said...

No, but 'the courtroom wave' in the back row would.

Dante said...

You know, PB, I think this qualifies as a sport much more than the Ultimate [name removed for legal reasons] game you play. there's like a playoffs and people who actually watch you play and everything. Good luck.

Dante said...

Let us know how the Moot Court is going, PB. We need to update our brackets :)