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News Posted on April 20, 2009

Brett Kinney '10 and Kelly Van Aken '10 Prevail in Neumiller Competition


Kinney, Van Aken

The team of Brett Kinney '10 and Kelly Van Aken '10 won the 40th Annual Irving L. Neumiller Competition before an overflow audience in the Wilkins Moot Courtroom on April 18 with Dean Kevin R. Johnson and numerous King Hall faculty and alumni present.  The quality of the competition, which serves as the final round for UC Davis School of Law's year-long Intraschool Moot Court competition, impressed everyone in attendance, including the panel of distinguished judges.

"The quality of the arguments is astounding," remarked Justice Walter Carpeneti of the Alaska Supreme Court.  "I think they get better every year."

"Judges enjoy coming here," said Judge Mary Schroeder of U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  "This competition is well-known, always of high quality.  One of the best moot court competitions in the country."

This year's competition featured Kinney and Van Aken representing the Petitioner and Leslie Ang '10 and Jennifer Espanol '10 for the Respondent. The competitors addressed two issues: first, whether Section 2 of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) exceeds Congress' power under the 14th Amendment and whether it violates the Establishment Clause; and second, whether the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that a student first attend a public school before the statute's tuition reimbursement provisions are triggered.  Their efforts were judged by a panel including, in addition to Justice Carpeneti and Judge Schroeder, Judge Rosemary Barkett of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and Judge Jerome Farris, Judge Susan Graber, and Judge Kim Wardlaw of U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

"All four of you were exceptional," said Judge Wardlaw. "Your arguments were equal or better than those I often hear in my day job."

The Neumiller Competition is UC Davis School of Law's contribution to Picnic Day, an annual showcase of the richness and diversity of UC Davis.   For more information on the Neumiller Competition, see the next issue of Counselor magazine.

Neumiller Competition