SHC Student Moot Court ~ Town of Greece v. Galloway
Spring Hill College students in Dr. Matthew Baugh’s Civil Liberties and Civil Rights course argued Town of Greece v. Galloway today in the Bedsole Conference Room of the Marnie and John Burke Memorial Library.
Greece v. Galloway is a case currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. The case asks whether beginning a town council meeting with a prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Fifteen students participated in the simulated Supreme Court oral arguments. The team representing the Town of Greece argued in favor of allowing prayer at the start of each council gathering, whereas the students representing Galloway opposed prayer being delivered before the meetings.
Dr. Baugh, a Spring Hill College assistant professor of political science and law, acted as the silent chief justice, and was accompanied by three student justices.
“This is one of the most watched cases before the Supreme Court this year,” says Dr. Baugh. “The Court has recently heard oral arguments in the case, but will not release its decision and opinion until June. I wanted the students in this course to have an opportunity to get inside the case in real time in order to make the arguments themselves—before the Court announces its decision.”
According to Dr. Baugh, today’s moot court exercise was a rare opportunity, mainly because the vast majority of cases that constitutional law students study have already been decided.
“We read opinions and debate whether the Court got the decision right, but there is often a sense that the dispute is over and done with and there may be a temptation to see the Court's result as somehow pre-determined or obvious,” says Baugh. “After studying Town of Greece v. Galloway, my students are in the same position now as the litigants in this case, and in particular, in the same position as their counsel. We have all made our best arguments and now are waiting to hear whether it is constitutional to begin a town council meeting with prayer -- a question that concerns every person in this country.”
SHC Student Justices
Town of Greece
Gabriella del Gandio