by Brittany Hardy
Baylor Law School's ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition teams leave today, Feb. 23, for their regional competition in San Francisco. The teams include Kathryn Childress, Jose Magana and Molly Hinshaw as well as Brittney Johnson and David Schlottman. Professor Brian Serr is their coach. The competition runs this weekend with the top team advancing to the national competition.
This year's competition problem brings up questions about whether restrictions on commercial speech designed to keep certain information about pseudoephedrine products from methamphetamine cooks (who use pseudoephedrine in the unlawful production of meth) violate the 1st Amendment rights of the buyers and sellers of such cold and allergy medicine products.
The problem also deals with propriety of judicial review when a law has not yet been enforced against the lawful sellers of pseudoephedrine product.
The Baylor teams spent six to eight weeks researching the issues and writing a brief. Additionally, they held about a dozen oral argument practice rounds, with faculty judges and community lawyers serving as judges.
"They are already well-prepared but continuing to work hard throughout these final days before the competition," Serr said. "I expect them to be one of the top oral argument teams of the 30 plus at the San Francisco regional tournament. I expect that their briefs will also score very well."
Serr also said that just like in previous competitions, the Baylor Law team will be hard to beat.
"The final rounds at regionals usually are close rounds contested by good teams and frequently turn on a judging panel's particular preference," Serr said. "In short, I expect our teams to be more than good enough to qualify for nationals, but it's always helpful to get some of those 'breaks' that are not directly within any team's control."