Students Argue First and Fourth Amendment Rights During Moot Courts

Mr. Knox's 8th grade social studies classes completed their Moot Court performances last week.  Moot Courts are mock Supreme Court hearings in which students argue, as either petitioners or respondents, four hypothetical cases that test the limits of our First and Fourth Amendment rights both within and out of school settings. Constructing such arguments requires strong analytical skills, as well as the same basic argumentative structure used in essay writing.

Some of the cases tested the protections and limits of our Fourth Amendment rights to privacy as they pertain to issues hotly debated in our society today, such as the ability of law enforcement to search cell phones. Some of the cases tested the limits on the free exercise of religious belief, and specifically, the balance between religious freedom and non-discrimination.
 
Judging this year's Moot Courts were two District Court judges, 11 lawyers, and two UNM law students. The judges expressed surprise and admiration at the way the students’ arguments were constructed and the poise with which they presented their arguments and answered difficult questions on the spot.  
 
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