Moot Court teams take 1st and 2nd at Duke tournament

Jack Goldfisher

For the third time, a Harvard-Westlake team has won the Duke national moot court tournament. The final round pitted one Harvard-Westlake team against another Harvard-Westlake team.

Two Harvard-Westlake teams made it to the final round of the  tournament in Durham, North Carolina Feb. 23 and 24. In the eighth and final round of the tournament, Miranda Van Iderstine ’13 and Mazelle Etessami ’14 defeated Amita Pentakota ’14 and Aiyana White ’14, to win the annual competition.

In the competition,  high school students debate over a case prompt using constitutional precedents and past Supreme Court cases. Each match of the tournament consisted of two teams comprised of two students each arguing over the constitutionality of ”The offering of Miranda warnings by principals in school and unlawful search of a Facebook,” Van Iderstine said, “[this year’s case] concerned the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.”

The rounds were decided by one judge’s ruling, except for the final round, which took place in front of a panel of legal experts who chose the winning team.

A third Harvard-Westlake team, Katie Jung ’14 and Morganne Ramsay ’14, lost in the tournament’s octofinal round.

Moot Court coach and science teacher David Hinden “is an amazing coach, so we couldn’t have done it without him,” Van Iderstine said.

Etessami was the only member of this year’s team that didn’t compete in last year’s Duke tournament, which was the 11th time Duke has hosted the event.

“We were confident coming into the tournament, having been there before, and were ready to put in the work necessary to do well,” Van Iderstine said, “We all care a lot about doing Moot Court and being a part of the small community of students involved.”