Press Releases

Aug 18, 2015

National First Amendment Moot Court Competition Announced by Newseum Institute and Columbus School of Law

WASHINGTON — The Seigenthaler-Sutherland Cup National First Amendment Moot Court Competition will debut in March 2016, the Newseum Institute and the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America announced today.

The annual competition will be sponsored by the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center and the Columbus School of Law. The innovative combined program will feature a competition problem linked to a cutting-edge contemporary First Amendment issue. Open to the 206 law schools currently approved by the American Bar Association, the first moot court competition will take place March 18 and 19, 2016, with first-day rounds at the Columbus School of Law and second-day final rounds at the Newseum.

“Our law school is thrilled to be joining forces with the Newseum Institute to host this National First Amendment Moot Court Competition,” said Daniel F. Attridge, dean of the Columbus School of Law. “For 66 years, our Sutherland Cup has been one of the leading competitions focusing on constitutional law issues, and we are privileged to welcome the Institute, with its strong First Amendment expertise, as our co-sponsor.”

The Columbus School of Law has hosted the Sutherland Cup competition since its inception in 1950, with the purpose of exposing students interested in constitutional law to appellate advocacy. The Sutherland Cup is the oldest continuous private moot court competition in the nation. The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center for 25 years had sponsored a national First Amendment moot court competition with the Vanderbilt University Law School. The final event in that series was held in February.

“We hope that this competition will continue long-standing efforts by both institutions to expose generations of law students to issues involving our core freedoms, and in the process foster an even greater appreciation for those freedoms within the legal profession and the judiciary,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute.

In its inaugural year, the national competition will be limited to 16 teams, and will include scoring both for written briefs and oral arguments. Information will be sent to potential participating law schools in mid-August. Entry forms for the competition will be available on Sept. 1 online at, and the registration deadline is Oct. 1.

The competition is named for John Seigenthaler, the founder of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, and for Supreme Court Justice George B. Sutherland, an ardent defender of the U.S. Constitution who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1922 to 1938.

About the Freedom Forum Institute

The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.

About the Columbus School of Law

The Columbus School of Law has been a leader in legal education in the nation’s capital for over 100 years. Located at The Catholic University of America, the law school offers a first-rate legal education that is practical, focused, and connected. Our classes emphasize practical skills as our students learn the law. They learn by doing, and they graduate ready to practice. Our students can focus on specialized areas of law and enhance their expertise in their chosen area, and they are challenged to stay focused on service to others in their careers. And our students are connected with faculty who take a personal interest in them, fellow students who are encouraged to treat each other like family, and an active and supportive alumni network. For more information, visit

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