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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito presiding over W&L Moot Court Finals

Samuel Alito, Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, will be one of three distinguished jurists to judge the annual John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy competition at Washington and Lee School of Law.

Joining Justice Alito on the three-judge panel for the competition is Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Albert Diaz from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The competition is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 6:00 p.m. and will take place in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall, on the campus of Washington and Lee. The competition is open to the public, and there is no cost to attend.

The Davis Competition is an appellate advocacy competition held annually at the School of Law. The competition consists of two components: the submission of an appellate brief and the presentation of oral arguments before a panel of judges.

This year’s problem is based on a criminal appeal, United States v. Bryan Buckmyre, set in the fictional town of Lex Vegas in the state of Commonwealth. United States v. Bryan Buckmyre addresses two Sixth Amendment issues: whether the Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches to a single criminal offense that is prosecuted consecutively by separate sovereigns; and whether an accomplice’s statements to someone other than a state agent that may incriminate the defendant may be suppressed under the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause.

During the competition, students write briefs individually or in teams of two, and all participants argue alone. Competitors advance from the initial rounds based upon their performance on the brief and their oral advocacy skills. Advancement in later rounds is based purely on oral advocacy.

The Davis Competition is named in honor of alumnus John W. Davis, who joined the law school briefly as its third faculty member in 1896. Widely regarded as one of the finest advocates of the 20th century, Davis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 139 times before his death in 1955. He served as Solicitor General under Woodrow Wilson and was the Democratic nominee for U.S. President in the 1924 election.