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Five Constitutional Law Students to Present Oral Arguments April 30

Public Relations
Posted: Monday Apr 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Five Saint Vincent College students who are studying Advanced Constitutional Law with Dr. Bruce Antkowiak, professor of law and director of the criminology, law and society program, will present oral arguments in a complex case to a panel of judges and lawyers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, in the Luparello Lecture Hall in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion on the campus of Saint Vincent College. Admission is free and open to the public.

“This is an activity that students usually do not get to experience until they are well into their law school careers,” Antkowiak commented. “The students will present an oral argument based on a hypothetical case involving the placement of a memorial containing the Lord’s Prayer outside a municipal building in Pennsylvania. The case involves cutting edge issues under both the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

Judging the competition will be Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Meagan Bilik Defazio (a Saint Vincent graduate), Elise Glenn, the new director of trial advocacy at Saint Vincent, and Adam Cogan, a Ligonier attorney whose specializes in federal court practice.

The oral argument is part of the course in Advanced Constitutional Law taught at Saint Vincent by Antkowiak. In addition to presenting the oral argument, the students prepared a written brief that details their position and offers support from prior Supreme Court opinions.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to experience one of the most exciting aspects of lawyering,” Antkowiak added. “Appearing before an appellate court panel that will question you about the case and your argument is an excellent way to acquire a full understanding of the law. This sort of opportunity is not usually presented until individuals are well into their law school careers but I have found that the Saint Vincent students are more than capable of handling the situation and deriving a great deal from it.”

The students presenting in the competition are Joseph Carroll, a senior English major from Somerset; Jonathon Noble, a sophomore politics major from Greensburg; Jo-Anne Thompson, a senior politics major from Havandale, St. Andrew, Jamaica; Felecia Watt, a senior criminology, law and society major from Blairsville; and Jake Keller, a senior politics major from Miami, Fla.

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