Promoting an Understanding of the Bill of Rights
"A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government . . . "
The Student Division of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL:SD) was established in 1990 to provide students at William & Mary Law School with the opportunity to organize programs on constitutional law topics of special interest to them. As members of IBRL:SD, students have a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in fostering discussion of important constitutional issues. The IBRL:SD sponsors a variety of academic and social programs throughout the year, including Constitutional Conversations, our Scholarly Luncheon Series, and the annual Edmund Randolph Award for Excellence in Oral Advocacy (the “Silver Tongue Award”), which is held in conjunction with the final round of the Bushrod Moot Court Tournament.
Constitutional Conversations is an award-winning, non-partisan, community-based education project designed to send law students into the community to educate citizens about their civic rights and duties. The project is developed and maintained by the IBRL:SD, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Williamsburg Regional Library. The goal is to inspire students and adults, alike, to become active participants in the democratic process. Instruction in the history and development of our fundamental Constitutional rights is an indispensable foundation for effective civics training for all Americans. It also serves as the basis for the unique engine of human change.
This year's Silver Tongue Award recipient was Tom Goldstein.
The Bushrod T. Washington Moot Court Tournament is a competition among William & Mary law students for membership on the Moot Court Team. Competitors take turns arguing a current issue in constitutional law in a mock Supreme Court setting. Past issues have included First Amendment free speech rights in vehicle license plates and Fourth Amendment rights against the search of smartphone data during an arrest. After three weeks of argument, the team will select the competitors who displayed the best mastery of the issues, poise, and persuasive style to join the team for the remainder of their time at William & Mary. These new members will then be eligible to compete in other tournaments throughout the country.