Four Saginaw Valley State University students competed in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association national tournament hosted by California State University, Long Beach on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15-16.
Two teams of two SVSU students competed in the tournament. The team of Mark Babcock and Billie Deshone won three rounds to advance to the second day of the tournament. They were eliminated by a team from the U.S. Air Force, ranked No. 9 nationally going into the tournament.
Babcock is a Saginaw resident who graduated in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is enrolled in additional courses. DeShone is a history major from Saginaw.
The other team featured students Rachel Cahill, a political science major from Niagara Falls, Ontario; and Rob Mass, an economics major from Howell. The pair defeated the team ranked No. 1 going into the tournament from the University of North Texas before being eliminated during the tournament’s first day. This marked the second consecutive year Cahill has competed in the national tournament.
The four qualified for nationals by virtue of their strong performances at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s Great Lakes Regional moot court tournament at SVSU Nov. 13-14.
In a moot court competition, students act as attorneys in teams of two. They make arguments to a panel of judges by drawing from constitutional law and Supreme Court cases. Judges then decide winners based on public speaking ability, knowledge of cases and of law, and the ability to answer questions.
SVSU’s undergraduate program ranks No. 20 overall in the national rankings and earned a No. 17 finish for the 2014-15 academic year. Formed in 2010, the relatively young program has quickly climbed ahead of highly regarded schools such as Duke University and the University of Chicago.