If Life Gives You the Lemon Test…

by Peter Jetton

Well, you know the rest. The three prongs of the Lemon test took center stage during the 2009 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy competition, and Chief Judge Michael Luttig, formerly of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and now Executive Vice President of Boeing, was none too pleased.

The problem for the competition involved a war memorial on federal land featuring a cross, and all the competitors faced tough questioning from the three judge panel on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and just what case or test should guide the judges’ decision in the case. There seemed to be no clear answer for the panel, which included Irene M. Keeley of the Northern District of West Virginia and Colonel Mark Johnson of the Court of Military Appeals. Luckily, they didn’t have to decide the case, only who made the best argument. But that could not have been easy either.

In the end, Mike Gardner ’10L was named Best Oralist of the competition, and Margaret Hannapel ’11L was named Runner-up. Kiyomi Bolick ’10L and Patrick Chamberlain ’10L also argued in the final round. Bolick and her writing partner Marti McCaleb ’10L took home Best Brief awards, and Chamberlain and Joshua Shaw were named Runner-up for their brief. Below, you can watch Gardner’s winning argument. A video of the entire competition is available on W&L Law’s YouTube channel.

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