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Ken Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Distinguished jurists to judge IU Maurer School of Law Moot Court Competition

Feb. 28, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A panel of distinguished jurists, including a judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and two judges from the Indiana Court of Appeals, will visit the Indiana University Maurer School of Law at 6 p.m. Friday, March 1, to hear final arguments in a case involving judicial recusal and eminent domain.

The arguments will be the final round of the law school's annual Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition. This year, 165 students participated in the tournament-style competition, in which they acted as appellate lawyers representing clients in a realistic setting.

Law School

Judging the final round are Judge Diane S. Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Judge Amy J. St. Eve of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court; and Senior Judge Carr L. Darden and Judge Nancy Vaidik, both of the Indiana Court of Appeals.

This year's case problem, City of Barksdale v. Franklin Community Credit Union, addresses two issues: Whether the 14th Amendment requires a judge to recuse herself from a case when her personal politics and financial incentives seem to favor one party highly; and whether a city government may exercise its eminent domain power over "underwater" mortgages to alleviate the foreclosure crisis without violating the Fifth Amendment's protection of private property rights. The fictional case is based on a real proposed take-over plan for San Bernardino County, Calif., that was recently the subject of extensive debate and media coverage.

"This year's competition has been the largest in the law school's history," said professor Seth Lahn, faculty adviser. "It marks the culmination of a yearlong effort in which our students refined their written and oral advocacy skills and deepened their understanding of these vital constitutional issues, aided by the efforts of more than 150 alumni and other members of the Indiana legal community who volunteered their time as judges."

Friday evening's event, in Room 123 of the IU Maurer School of Law, is open to the public and will be followed by a reception on the main floor. The competition is named after Indiana native and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sherman M. Minton. A 1915 graduate of the Maurer School of Law, Minton served on the court from 1949 to 1956 and took part in a number of historic decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education. The competition is sponsored by the Indianapolis law firm of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP.