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Eugene Sokoloff ’12 and Wendy Zupac ’12 Win Top Prize in Moot Court Finals


The final round of the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals at Yale Law School was held Monday afternoon, December 6, in the Law School auditorium. The Potter Stewart Prize for best overall written and oral argument went to Wendy Zupac ’12 and Eugene Sokoloff ’12, who successfully argued for the respondent, Abdullah Al-Kidd, in the case, Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd.

Sokoloff received the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize for best oralist as well, and the judges also praised the performances of Barrett Anderson ’12 and Nick Walter ’12, who argued for the petitioner, John Ashcroft.

At issue in the case, which comes before the Supreme Court this term, was 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.

Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs of the Second Circuit, Judge Guido Calabresi ’58 of the Second Circuit, and Judge Merrick Garland of the District of Columbia Circuit presided over the final round.

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.