Sotomayor Joins Livingston and Chin on Moot Court Bench

Summer 2011

This spring, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor returned to Columbia Law School to serve as a judge for the final round of the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition. Prior to her Supreme Court appointment, Sotomayor spent nearly 10 years as an instructor at the Law School, where she co-taught a federal appellate externship course.

Professor Debra A. Livingston and Denny Chin, both of whom serve on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, joined Sotomayor in hearing arguments from the moot court finalists. Livingston, who currently oversees the federal appellate externship class, is also the Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law.

The moot court, a three-round elimination competition, focuses on appellate advocacy. Finalists Anjali Bhat ’11, Prashanth Chennakesavan ’11, Matthew F. Kuhn ’11, and Paul E. Smith ’12 presented arguments for a case written by Evie Spanos ’11, a previous finalist who served as this year’s competition director. The fictional appeal involved a mentally disabled individual who claimed to have been wrongfully sentenced to life without parole. 

Sotomayor, Livingston, and Chin challenged the finalists with a salvo of questions, eventually presenting Smith with the Lawrence S. Greenbaum Prize for best oral presentation. The second-year student represented the respondent in the case.