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Video Feature: The Road to the Keedy Cup Finals

May 19, 2011

Earlier this semester James H. Borod L’11, Michael B. Kind L’11, Sarah L. Smith L’11, and Kimberly R. Upham L’11 stood before notable judges Hon. Jose A. Cabranes, Hon. Karen Nelson Moore, and Hon. Stephen R. Reinhardt in the Annenberg Center's Zellerbach Theatre, ready to stake their claims to the 2011 Edwin R. Keedy Cup. The judges posed challenging questions from the bench, to which the students provided well-researched, knowledgeable answers. Ultimately, the moot court team of Borod and Kind won the debate of the case, Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, a challenge to the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007.


TranscriptThe Road to the Keedy Cup Finals
Professor Anne Kringel: The Keedy Finals are the culmination of a year of argument that the students who are participating have been doing. They start out in their second year, in the Keedy Preliminaries, and they write a brief and they give three rounds of argument. And from that, the top four people end up being our Keedy finalists when they’re third years. And we stage it as an actual Supreme Court case– we use a pending case, and the advocates pretend that they are the advocates before the Supreme Court, and they play those roles. And the judges take that very seriously too – the judges are usually actual sitting judges, and they play the role of Supreme Court judges, and ask the students really difficult questions.

The Competition
Michael Kind: The thing that is preempted is criminal and monetary sanctions. However, the graduated …
Hon. Stephen R. Reinhardt: Well why?  Why is that – why are the monetary sanctions preempted?
Kind: The house report explains that it’s civil fines.
Reinhardt: Well, I don’t care about the house report, particularly, I follow Justice Scalia. I read the statute. 
Kind: Sure.
Reinhardt: And the statute – what is preempted by this statute? If you can do anything through a licensing provision.

Kimberly Upham: IRCA created a term of art, “unauthorized alien,” and that would be the correct system in which to incorporate the standard.
Hon. Karen Nelson Moore: What is the most fundamental difference between those two standards?
Upham: Your Honor, the fundamental difference between those two standards is that under IRCA, a worker may, in fact, be authorized, even though they are an illegal alien. The Attorney General may authorize a worker under IRCA, under its provisions.

The Students
Kind: I think a lot of schools have events like this, but Penn has some great appellate advocacy programs and some legal writing programs. Ever since 1L year, I’ve been preparing in this type of way. We’ve had oral arguments, we’ve been required to write briefs and do oral arguments. Then, second year, I took Appellate Advocacy class. So Penn definitely makes the curriculum adaptable for learning these types of skills, and I think that that’s a very important thing to do. It’s something that we’re probably all going to have to use one day when we graduate school, and it’s about more how we interact with the world and not necessarily just books. And I think Penn does do a great job of emphasizing that in part of the curriculum.
Sarah Smith: They let me get through the first minute, my introduction, which is all you can really ask for in this type of competition. And then they decided to go in for the questions, and that’s about what I was anticipating.
Upham: It was a great opportunity. I had a great partner. Sarah and I really enjoyed working together. And it’s a great experience to moot a case in front of real circuit judges. I think it gave me a little taste of what, hopefully, my career will be like someday. 
James Borod: There were definitely some questions we hadn’t talked about or thought about before. And it’s one thing, certainly, to do in a classroom here in front of three people – it’s a little bit scary to do in front of a much larger audience.

Reinhardt: We all enjoyed it, and we hope you enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed you. So thank you very much. The court will stand in recess.

This transcript was edited for length.


Named for its founder, the late Dean Edwin R. Keedy (1880-1958), the Keedy Cup competition is the culmination of the Law School's intramural brief writing and oral advocacy moot court tournament. All second-year students are eligible. After three rounds of competition, the four students who score the highest are selected to become the Keedy Cup participants. In their third year, the participants, randomly paired in two teams, argue a current Supreme Court case before an esteemed panel of jurists. The competition is organized by the Law School’s Moot Court Board, whose members, along with the members of the National Moot Court Competition Team, were runners-up after the three rounds of competition in the second-year moot court competitions.