Ussery v. State Bar of Georgia, Brief for Respondent (Best Brief, 17th Annual National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, 2007). Embargoed until 2010.


From First Amendment Center News Release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The team from George Mason University School of Law won the 17th Annual National First Amendment Moot Court Competition today at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

Recognized for “best brief” in the competition were Bret Hobson and Lauren Mock of the University of Georgia School of Law; and for “best oralist,” Ryan Faulconer of the University of Virginia School of Law.

The competition this year focused on a hypothetical case involving commercial speech, specifically attorney advertising. Teams of student advocates from 35 law schools argued both sides of complex legal issues involving whether a state regulation of lawyer ads is constitutional.

“This annual competition provides future lawyers with an opportunity to consider fundamental questions about our basic freedoms, this year focusing on an emerging area, commercial speech,” said Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center. “This hypothetical case raises several interesting questions: Are attorney ads fully First Amendment-protected political speech, or less-protected commercial speech?”

“This year’s problem presented law students from across the country a unique opportunity to examine and discuss a complex area of First Amendment law,” said Tiffany Villager, director of First Amendment Studies for the First Amendment Center, who directs the Moot Court program. “The success of the competition is a tribute to the hard work of the Vanderbilt Moot Court Board under the learned guidance of Professor Tom McCoy.”

Semi-final and final-round judges in the 2007 competition included, from the federal judiciary: Steven M. Colloton, 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Martha Craig Daughtrey, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Robert L. Echols, district judge, Middle District of Tennessee; Sidney A. Fitzwater, district judge, Northern District of Texas; Julia Smith Gibbons, 6th Circuit; Marian F. Harrison, bankruptcy judge, Middle District of Tennessee; William J. Haynes Jr., district judge, Middle District of Tennessee; and Aleta A. Trauger, district judge, Middle District of Tennessee. Joining them from the state judiciary were Cornelia A. Clark and Gary R. Wade, Tennessee Supreme Court.

The demanding competition requires students to write an appellate brief and to answer challenging legal questions from panels of judges. The event requires a thorough understanding of First Amendment law, poise under pressure and expertise in fielding complex legal questions.

The First Amendment Center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, the right to assemble and petition the government.