The Volokh Conspiracy

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The 2020 Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court Elite 8 Round

The top 8 teams argued Torres v. Madrid.


Last month, we hosted the semifinal rounds for the Harlan Institute-Ashbrook Virtual Supreme Court competition. And this past weekend, we hosted the Elite 8 Round. These higher-schoolers are remarkable. They could compete, and win, a law school moot court competition. And they could out-argue most attorneys before the courts of appeals.

I am deeply grateful to our stellar roster of judges. Presiding over the first match was Deputy Solicitor General Rebecca Taibleson, who argued Torres, and prevailed. Chris Riano, the President of the Center for Civic Education, presided over the third and fourth matches. And we had a cadre of five law professors rounding out the benches. I judged, along with my colleagues from the South Texas College of Law Houston, Geoff Corn and Amanda Peters. And we were lucky to have Professor Josh Kastenberg from the University of New Mexico and Rachel VanLandingham from Southwestern. All of these judges (present company excluded) were former prosecutors/and or defense attorneys. They brought their considerable experience to the tournament. And the students faced red-hot benches.

We had four matches. And as fate would have it, the Petitioner and Respondent teams from Match #1 have both advanced to the championship round. And these teams also faced off against each other in the semifinal round. In total, they will compete against each other three times. Congratulations to Senou Kounouho and Ayaan Siddiqui from BASIS Peoria in Arizona and Anita Ashok and Kashish Bastola from Frisco CTE Center in Texas. We will have more details about the final match shortly.

Here are the videos from the rounds.

Match #1

Petitioner: Team 7872

Respondent: Team 7852

Match #2

Petitioner: Team 7857

Respondent: Team 7976

Match #3

Petitioner: Team 7859

Respondent: Team 8022

Match #4

Petitioner: Team 7974

Respondent: Team 7988

Congratulations to all of the teams. They all have such bright futures.