Friday, October 8, 2021

After going virtual in 2020, the University of Iowa College of Law’s long-standing tradition of Supreme Court Day was back in person today.  

Ever since the inaugural Supreme Court Day was held in 1928, talented Iowa Law students have argued in front of Iowa Supreme Court Justices during Supreme Court Day. The event, originally a replacement for the former Law Jubilee, has morphed from an argument by the law club presided by two Iowa Supreme Court Justices, to the seminal event in a year-long process. Many second-year law students participate in Appellate Advocacy I and top students get invited to participate in Appellate Advocacy II in their 2L spring semester. Of those students, four are chosen to participate in Supreme Court Day the fall of their 3L year. 

Ryan Daisy, a third-year student at Iowa Law and the executive director of Moot Court, gave us a little more background stating, “Supreme Court Day highlights the skills of some of the best advocates at the law school all while showcasing our Supreme Court's willingness to support future attorneys and make justice accessible. The event includes arguments over two cases. The first case is a real case pending in the Iowa court system, the second is a fictional case authored by our own Jen Schrauth, who is the Supreme Court Day coordinator and competitions director of the Moot Court Board.” 

3L Jennifer Schrauth shared her thoughts on being coordinator for the event saying, “It has been a wonderful experience creating this problem. I was so fortunate to have three exceptional faculty members who looked over my work and provided invaluable perspective as practitioners. It has been lovely to work in this role with people I admire, particularly my favorite professor and those who have had such a great impact on my legal education.” 

All seven Iowa Supreme Court justices traveled to the Boyd Law Building to hear a public oral argument, as well as student oral arguments in a moot case featuring the top 3L advocates from last spring’s Van Oosterhout-Baskerville competition. The justices include three Iowa Law alums, Justice Christopher McDonald (JD01), Justice Thomas D. Waterman (JD84), and Justice Dana Oxley (JD98), and one University of Iowa alum, Justice Matthew McDermott (BA00). 

“The first case in front of the court was argued by practicing Iowa attorneys, the Moot Case was argued by the top two advocates and top two oralists from last year's Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Moot Court Competition. In the evening following the arguments, the Justices share a meal with first, second, and third-year law students. This meal is hosted in various locations by the law school's professors and gives students an opportunity to converse with the Justices in a casual setting,” stated Daisy. 

The advocates in today's Moot Case included Allison Adams, Luke Zahari, Tate Thompson, and Scott Hastings.  

Realizing the event’s impact on not just the other students, but on herself as well, Schrauth added in saying, “It is very fulfilling to guide fellow students through legal issues I am passionate about, and they brought the problem to life through their wonderful advocacy. The four advocates truly deserve to be a part of Iowa Law's oldest tradition, and we are so grateful the Iowa Supreme Court is willing to come back every year and allow us to do this showcase."