Case Closed: Case Day at Langley High School
Langley High School seniors participated in an annual moot Supreme Court regarding the case Arizona v. The Intertribal Council of Arizona.
By Maddy Weingast
After countless hours of phone calls to interest groups, preparing PowerPoints, conducting surveys, designing programs and taking part in research, Langley’s senior government students had much to celebrate as the final school bell rang on Friday, March 15, marking the end of Case Day 2013.
Since 1993, Case Day has provided students with a unique look into the workings of the judicial system and Supreme Court. Seniors became involved within their respective committees, a total of 14, ranging from Research Committee to Food Committee, all of which were led by the student coordinators Zack Dailey, Sarah White and Jenny Rossberg, all 18.
The day began with student debates, presentations from different clubs and honors societies and a speech from Del. Barbara Comstock, all leading to the culminating event: the oral arguments between the petitioner and respondent. In conjunction with an esteemed panel of judges, including a law professor from Georgetown University and many seasoned attorneys, seniors Greg Adams and Clayton Kennedy, both 18, played the role of student justices, while the counsel was composed of Cynthia Ding, Mujtaba Wani and Michael Osgood and Nick Hallmark, all 18.
This year’s case, Arizona v. The Intertribal Council of Arizona, centered on whether the Ninth Circuit erred in creating a heightened preemption test under the “Elections Clause,” causing potential conflict, and whether the National Voter Registration Act preempts the Arizona law requiring people to show evidence that they are eligible to vote when registering (Proposition 200).
The majority opinion of the court ruled in favor of the Ninth Circuit, stating that there is a “direct conflict” between state and federal laws, so when analyzed under the Elections Clause, the federal government has the authority to regulate elections, thus striking down Proposition 200.
On Monday, March 18, the student counsel, justices and coordinators had the opportunity to view the case in front of the actual Supreme Court. Without a doubt, this one-of-a-kind experience provided the senior government students with a glimpse into the politics and judicial workings that are an integral part of our society.