Hastie Moot Court Update

by Sarah Ricciardi

The final arguments of the 2013 William H. Hastie Moot Court Competition were held last night in the Davis Courtroom. The panel of judges consisted of three UConn Law alumni, the Honorable Dennis G. Eveleigh ’72, the Honorable Andrew J. McDonald ’91, and the Honorable Hope C. Seeley ’89. The finalists, both 2Ls, were Pamela Bass ’15 and Scott Garosshen ’15. The issue on appeal was whether the Second Circuit Court of Appeals erred in holding that the Town of Greece’s legislative prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause notwithstanding the absence of discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers or forbidden exploitation of the prayer opportunity.

The petitioner, Ms. Bass, put on a strong and passionate argument, which focused on the fact that the Town of Greece did not have the intent of discriminating against other religions, despite its mostly Christian prayer practice. Mr. Garosshen eloquently argued that the effect of the Town of Greece’s prayer practice was enough to make it unconstitutional.

In the closest finals in the history of the Hastie competition, Mr. Garosshen won a divided panel. He also won the Best Oralist Award for his high scores in the preliminary rounds. Another 2L, Brendan Gooley, took home the Best Brief Award. Congratulations to all the competitors!