IAN WARD ’19 | ONLINE AND PHOTO EDITOR• On Wednesday night, Kwaku Sarpong ’22 was christened as the 2018 Moot Court Winner, after arguing on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday Evening. Sarpong is from Suffolk, Virginia. He, along with finalist Erich Lange ’19, argued on the side of Johnson, a Seventh Circuit case. The case describes when police can reasonably approach and search a parked car based on a suspected parking violation. It brings up problems and questions related to Fourth Amendment protections.
This year’s Moot Court was the 25th year for the storied event, and once again the case was modeled after an actual case currently in the United States Court of Appeals. The case surrounds questions around privacy and what is and is not a lawful stop, search and seizure.
The writer for the problem Wabash Students were faced with was Ms. Jane Ann Himsel, the spouse of Professor Scott Himsel of the Political Science Department. Ms. Himsel is a prominent lawyer in her own right. According to Professor of Rhetoric and on campus Moot Court organizer Todd F. McDorman, Himsel, “…provided Wabash Moot Court with an excellent problem in 2018. It was thoughtful and based in legal precedent and principle, but also accessible and posed an interesting question at the intersection of law and society.”
The case attracted 37 competitors to begin the event on Saturday and was narrowed down to four finalists by Wednesday. The size of the event fluctuates year to year according to McDorman, and this year was slightly above average with 37 beginning the competition. The competition is also unique to being in a undergraduate environment, however according to McDorman, fits uniquely with the liberal arts approach of Wabash College, “Moot Court is a signature event in the liberal arts. It is not of one discipline, but of many. It is not based on one skill or ability, but many.”
“Students who participate in moot court develop and refine their skills in public speaking, argumentation and advocacy, and critical thinking. They learn how to form coherent, organized arguments from a set of facts and case law and to calmly respond to intense scrutiny in the form of questions from the judges. They learn about the law, political science, history, rhetoric, philosophy, and social issues and concerns that intersect with a variety of disciplines based on the problem of the particular year.”
Lastly Professor McDorman stressed that this event could not be completed without alumni support, as Jon Pactor ’71 and Matt Griffith ‘89 both play vital roles in organizing the event with the Indianapolis Association of Wabash Men, and also thanked all involved for their continued support.