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Moot Court Finals Dec. 3 Will Consider Federal Preemption Law and Voting Rights

The relationship between federal preemption law and voting rights will be considered when four Yale Law School students compete in the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize finals of the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. and arguments begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Yale Law School auditorium. A reception will follow in the Alumni Reading Room. The event is open to the Yale Law School community and invited guests.

Judge Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit will hear the case, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., a real case that comes before the Supreme Court this term.

At issue is whether the Court of Appeals erred

1) in creating a new, heightened preemption test under Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution (“the Elections Clause”) that is contrary to this Court’s authority and conflicts with other circuit court decisions, and

2) in holding that under that test, the National Voter Registration Act preempts an Arizona law that requests persons who are registering to vote to show evidence that they are eligible to vote?

“Voter identification laws have been in the news a lot lately,” said Moot Court co-chair Allyson Bennett ’13. “This case involves the proper understanding of overlapping federal and state authority over elections and, within that framework, asks whether the Arizona measure conflicts with a federal law intended to make it easier for people to vote. We are very excited to have four incredible finalists argue a case that centers on an issue so central to the democratic process.”

Katie Mesner-Hage ’13 and Michael Shih ’14 will argue for the petitioner, the state of Arizona, and James Dawson ’14 and Bridget Fahey’14 will argue for the respondent, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.

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.