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Morris Tyler Moot Court to Hear YLS Clinic Case, Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd, at Finals December 6

The Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals at Yale will be called to order at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, December 6, in the Yale Law School Auditorium. Four students will compete in the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize Finals of the competition. Doors open at 4 p.m. A reception in the Alumni Reading Room will follow the competition.

The Honorable Dennis G. Jacobs, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Honorable Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the Honorable Merrick B. Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear the case Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd, which comes before the Supreme Court this term.

At issue is whether former Attorney General John Ashcroft is immune from a lawsuit filed by American citizen Abdullah Al-Kidd, who was arrested and detained under the federal material witness statute in the aftermath of September 11. The suit alleges Ashcroft used the statute as a pretext to hold and investigate suspected terrorists, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The case happens to be one that Yale Law School’s 9-11 Clinic has been working on with the ACLU since it was filed in 2005; students Matt Vogel ’12, Alice Hwang ’11, Betsy Cooper ’12, Diala Shamas ’11, and Sirine Shebaya ’12 are currently drafting the merits brief for Al-Kidd with Clinical Professor Mike Wishnie ’93 and Clinical Visiting Lecturer in Law Lee Gelernt, who will argue the case for Al-Kidd.

Moot Court co-chairperson Tanya Abrams ’11 said, “We are looking forward to an exciting final round. We expect to hear challenging questions from a great panel of federal appellate judges regarding the important issue raised by this case—the scope of government accountability for alleged violations of constitutional rights.”

Barrett Anderson ’12 and Nick Walter ’12 will argue for the petitioner, John Ashcroft. Eugene Sokoloff ’12 and Wendy Zupac ’12 will represent the respondent, Abdullah Al-Kidd.

The competitors’ briefs will be posted on the moot court website approximately one week before the date of the oral argument.

The Morris Tyler Moot Court competition takes place each semester at Yale Law School, culminating in the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize Finals in the fall and the Thurman Arnold Prize Finals in the spring. All second- and third-year law students are eligible to participate.