The final round of Harvard Law School’s 97th Ames Moot Court Competition was held on November 18 in the Ames Courtroom in Austin Hall.

The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer ’64, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, presided as chief justice. Joining him on the panel were The Honorable Frank M. Hull of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and The Honorable Marsha Siegel Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

This year’s case, Hubbard, Lopez, and Betancourt v. Andrews, was written by Julie Barton ’92 and Meryl Kessler ’93, and involved a First Amendment challenge to a state university’s decision to remove a student-run web page from its web site because the page included a paper written by a graduate student explaining how to hack into the university’s computer system.

A second issue involved a Fourteenth Amendment due process challenge to the university’s placement of stigmatizing information in an employee’s personnel file without giving him a hearing.

The 2008 Final Round competitors (all 3Ls) were:

The Honorable Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Team (Petitioner):

* Ishan Bhabha
* Jonathan Cooper
* Alexandra Davies
* Christina Krause
* Logan Steiner
* David Zimmer

The Harper Lee Team (Respondent):

* Kristin Bateman
* Douglas Brayley
* Eric S. Nguyen
* Elyse Schneiderman
* Philip Tedesco
* John Benjamin Ward

Zimmer, of the petitioner’s team, won the judges’ recognition as best oralist, and the team was also recognized for best overall presentation. The respondents’ team won in the category for best brief.
Breyer commended both teams for doing a good job with a difficult case, noting that the award for best overall presentation was a virtual toss-up.

Judge Hull said: “Modern day oral arguments really are conversations with the court – lawyers do not stand up and give speeches and each of you did a very good job of having a dialogue with the court. You did a great job in that regard. Judges up here are just the referees. The most important persons in the justice system are the advocates, and I want to congratulate each of you for not only choosing to be a lawyer but for spending all the time that you have done to enhance your advocacy skills through this competition. … I’m absolutely convinced each of the advocates here will one day be a very important advocate for someone in our system of justice and will make a difference through your advocacy skills that you have enhanced through this process.”

The web cast is here. The briefs and the record can be found here.