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Media Advisory

Moot Court Competition
 

18 February 2004

ATTENTION: Legal affairs and higher education reporters

Contact: Janet Gilmore
(510) 642-5685


WHAT
A moot court competition at the University of California, Berkeley, at which Michael Newdow, the Sacramento area father who sued his daughter's school district and sparked a nationwide debate over the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase "under God," will argue his position.

Newdow, a medical doctor with a law degree, will test his legal skills at the School of Law (Boalt Hall) event against those of law professor Vikram Amar, a University of California Hastings College of the Law expert on constitutional law, civil procedures and remedies. A panel of law professors and practicing attorneys will act as justices. Details on the program are at http://boaltacs.org

The actual case, Elk Grove Unified School District vs. Newdow, is to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 24. Newdow plans to personally argue his case before the Supreme Court as well.

WHEN
TOMORROW, Thursday, Feb. 19, 4 to 5:45 p.m.

WHERE
Booth Auditorium, Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley.

WHO
Newdow will argue against the school district's policy of leading children in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Amar, representing the position of the Elk Grove school district, will defend the district's policy. The following individuals will weigh the effectiveness of both arguments:

Jesse Choper, a Boalt Hall law professor and constitutional law expert
William Bassett, a University of San Francisco School of Law professor and an expert on church and state issues
Herma Hill Kay, a Boalt Hall law professor and family law scholar
Ragesh Tangri, a Boalt Hall alumnus and an attorney with the San Francisco firm of Keker and Van Nest
Joan Wolff, a Boalt Hall alumna and an appellate law attorney

DETAILS
Elk Grove Unified School District vs. Newdow first gained notoriety when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the pledge, which includes the phrase "under God", violates the First Amendment's prohibition of laws respecting an establishment of religion.