Licensing, purchasing Moot Court Competition problems
The copyright for the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition problem is the property of the Vanderbilt University Law School Moot Court Board. Any unauthorized use of a competition hypothetical is prohibited by law. For licensing or purchasing of past competition problems, please contact the Vanderbilt Moot Court Board or Tiffany Villager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Included with purchase of past competition problems are the problem, the bench brief and sample questions for judges.
Competition problems available for purchase:
Freedom of speech
Anna G. v. Vadalia Board of Education
Many recently reported cases involve aggressive disciplinary actions taken by public school administrators against students whose oral or written communications, both in and out of school, suggest a deep hostility toward the school authorities or fellow students. This problem explores whether the student expression involved in these cases is protected by the First Amendment as free speech or is subject to regulation by the school authorities, either as a form of “true threat” or as a disruption of the school’s learning environment.
Freedom of speech
Ussery v. State Bar of Georgia
This problem examines a fundamental First Amendment principle – the public’s right to receive information and ideas – through the prism of a state regulation on attorney advertising. Though attorney advertising necessarily focuses attention on the legal profession, the First Amendment implications affect the public at large. The problem raises several interesting questions for the student advocates: Is the attorney advertisement a form of fully protected political speech, or a form of commercial speech, which assumes a “subordinate” rank in the scale of First Amendment values? If the speech is commercial, the advocates must address whether the speech is false or misleading – a subject near and dear to the Federal Trade Commission that goes beyond the realm of attorney advertising. Finally, the practitioners must address the malleable and oft-criticized test used by the U.S. Supreme Court to examine the constitutionality of regulations on commercial speech – the Central-Hudson test.
Freedom of speech
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission v. Maria Stone
This problem marks the 30th anniversary of Wooley v. Maynard, the seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding First Amendment issues arising in the context of license plates. In Wooley, the Court ruled that New Hampshire could not compel its drivers to display the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die,” on standard state-issue license plates. Currently, great controversy ensnares specialty license plates on issues involving hot-button topics such as abortion and the Confederate flag. The federal appeals courts are divided on whether a government-issued specialty license plate constitutes permissible government speech or impermissible viewpoint discrimination. As more cases arise, federal courts are issuing conflicting opinions on whether state governments can regulate messages displayed on these plates. This problem forces competitors to navigate this challenging area of First Amendment law. It presents the issue through the lens of two hypothetical specialty license plates bearing messages concerning immigration. Working from the presented facts, the parties must first address which test to apply to determine whether specialty license plates constitute government speech or private speech. If the message is classified as private speech, then the parties must also determine whether New Jersey engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.
Freedom of speech – student speech
Jennifer McCord v. Rocky Fork Unified School District.
This problem examines a contentious, cutting-edge issue involving student speech – whether school officials’ arm of authority extends beyond “the schoolhouse gate” to online student expression that officials deem vulgar, invasive of the rights of others in the school community and potentially disruptive.