DREW BLUETHMANN ’22 | STAFF WRITER
“Moot Court is the liberal arts on steroids,” Associate Professor of Political Science Scott Himsel ’85 said. The event, which tests a Wabash man’s ability to articulate both sides of an argument, puts students in a judicial hot seat.
The Wabash College Moot Court begins its twenty-sixth annual event on October 19.
This year’s topic is the right to keep and bear arms. The Founding Fathers explicated this right in the Second Amendment, writing, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This year’s Moot Court case topic emphasizes the nuances of the Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment in 2008. The Supreme Court ruled in D.C. v. Heller that the Second Amendment went beyond military service and that it includes self-defense in cases of confrontation in the home. Professor Himsel said, “The real issue is, to what extent should the people’s elected representatives. . . have the ability to limit people’s ability to carry guns outside the home?” Competitors will grapple with the conflict between public safety and the right to bear arms.
Contestants must come prepared with a deep understanding of both sides of the case and are tested in a multi-round competition that will start on October 19th and conclude with the final arguments on October 23 in Salter Hall. Professors, alumni, judges, and other professionals will judge contestants in each round of the competition. Judges expect the contestants to be able to change course at any moment. To complicate things, judges can interrupt contestants at any point and ask any question.
Moot Court is the perfect experience where a Wabash man can develop universally practical career skills. Kwaku Sarpong ’22 won Moot Court last year as the second-ever freshman to accomplish this feat. He is on the pre-med track and found value in Moot Court. He said, “In the medical field…you are going to have to present why you believe something is right—why a medication is right—why you need to implement a certain policy to take care of a patient over [different policy]. And people’s life depends on that.” A Wabash man will have to make strong arguments in their career while understanding both sides.
If you missed the Moot Court call out, you could still participate. Email Dr. Jeff Drury at email@example.com. Dr. Drury can also pair you with another contestant if you have yet to find a partner. Professor Himsel and Dr. Drury also urge all nonparticipating students to watch the final arguments on the evening of October 23. This is a serious issue that needs serious consideration and attention. Himsel said “You are going to see an intellectual dialogue and an exchange at a very high level. [This is a] very significant and current issue that involves life or death.”