William and Mary Law School

IBRL Student Division

Promoting an Understanding of the Bill of Rights




"A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government . . . "
     Thomas Jefferson


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.

2013-2014 IBRL Student Division Board Members

Kristin Bergman

Kaitlyn Krueger

Jill Askren

John Loughney 

Mollie Topic

Violet Boggs

Melissa Jensen


Scholarly Series Coordinator

Scholarly Series Coordinator 


Assistant Treasurer

Special Events Coordinator 

Publicity Coordinator 


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. See also http://law.wm.edu/news/stories/2013/community-celebrates-constitution-day-with-constitutional-conversations-event-.php

Past Events
February 13th, 2014: Silver Tongue Advocacy Award and Bushrod Moot Court Tournament

This year's Silver Tongue Award recipient was Paul Smith.

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.

2013-2014 Constitutional Converations Board Members

Laura Vlieg

Kristin Bergman

Sarah York

Violet Boggs 

Christina Dwyer

Student Program Coordinator 

Adult Program Coordinator

Public Relations Coordinator 

Student Lesson Plan Writer

Adult Lesson Plan Writer


2013 Silver Tongue Award

On February 13, 2013, the Institute of Bill of Rights: Law recognized the sixth recipient of the Edmund Randolph “Silver Tongue” Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy, Walter E. Dellinger III. Walter Dellinger is the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law at Duke University and member of the appellate practice at O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C. He also currently leads Harvard Law School's Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation Clinic. He served as the acting United States Solicitor General for the 1996-1997 Term of the Supreme Court, arguing nine cases before the Court. Prior to this appointment, Walter Dellinger was an Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel under President Bill Clinton.

Following the presentation of the Silver Tongue Award, Walter Dellinger served as the Chief Justice for the final round of the Moot Court Team’s Bushrod Tournament. The 2013 Bushrod Problem involves a fictional statute, the Clean Our Childrens’ Lungs Act, which requires tobacco manufacturers to post large textual and graphic warnings on their packing to illustrate the health risks inherent in smoking tobacco. Williamsburg Tobacco filed suit, claiming that the mandatory warnings violates its First Amendment rights. Amanda Cox ’15 argued for the Petitioner, the U.S. government, while Alexander Phillips ’15 argued for the Respondent, Williamsburg Tobacco. After hearing two well-prepared and persuasive arguments, the justices found for the Petitioner, awarding Amanda first place in the Bushrod Tournament.

Congratulations to Walter Dellinger!