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Post by: Esther Neds

Oral Argument at the Alabama Supreme Court

For the second half of the summer, I interned at the Alabama Supreme Court in the office of Chief Justice Parker. Most of the summer has involved legal research and writing, but in July the routine was shaken up. The Alabama Supreme Court was preparing for an oral argument during the pandemic and was striving to create an environment that protected the health of everyone involved.

One of the measures implemented was to allow some of the Justices to participate in the oral argument over Zoom instead of in-person. To help the court test the technology, Chief Justice Parker’s office told the other intern and me to prepare for a moot court argument on real case about to be heard before the court.

The other intern and I picked our side, read the briefs submitted to the Court, and did research, preparing our arguments. The staff attorneys in the office refused to talk to us about the case because they did not want us to have any help. The day before the real oral argument, the other intern and I did a moot argument in the courtroom of the Alabama Supreme Court for the Chief Justice and his staff.

Despite being a little nervous, I enjoyed the chance to advocate for a party instead of being neutral. It was such a challenging and rewarding experience. The next day, during the real oral argument, you can bet I was very attentive to each side’s argument after have just argued it myself.

The Alabama Supreme Court had never allowed interns to do a moot court argument in the courtroom before this summer. Although most of the consequences from COVID-19 have been unpleasant, this was one small perk that only came about because of the coronavirus.  

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.