National Moot Court Competition Tests Teens Persuasive Skills

Amid allegations that officials in a Pennsylvania school system used secretly monitored webcams to spy on students, teens will demonstrate their rhetorical skills and their knowledge of their rights to privacy at the 2010 National Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Moot Court Competition at the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University on March 20 and 21. High school students from eight cities will compete in the year’s culmination of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, through which law school students visit urban high schools to teach about the American system of justice, the relevance of the Constitution and the art of skillful argument. Students will argue a Fourth Amendment case involving the privacy rights of high school students through rounds of competition that will end in a final match-up to be judged by Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg and Judge Juan Sanchez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Judge Anne Lazarus of the Pennsylvania Superior Court. The fictional case involves a high school student who is asked to submit to a search of her computer and person by school officials who suspect she improperly obtained the answers to a test. Students will represent the student and the school system.Professor Gwen Stern, who directs the Trial Advocacy Program and the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project at the Earle Mack School of Law, said the case is especially timely, in light of a recent lawsuit alleging that school officials in Lower Merion Township used webcams on district-provided laptop computers to spy on students in their homes. “Obviously, recent events have cast a bright light on high school students’ privacy rights,” Stern said. The participants are students from Baton Rouge, La., Boston, Mass., Camden, N.J., Louisville, Ky., New Haven, Conn., Tempe, Ariz. and Washington, D.C. as well as Philadelphia. Hosted by the Earle Mack School of Law for the second consecutive year, the national competition is sponsored by the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation. Media Contacts: Sarah Greenblatt, communications manager, Earle Mack School of Law 215-571-4804 or sgreenblatt@drexel.eduNiki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or