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Making Their Case

Langley Students argue Freedom of Speech at 15th Annual Case Day.

Students in Langley High School's Government AP class faced a tough crowd on Friday, March 16. In a mock Supreme Court trial mirroring the current freedom of speech case Morse v. Frederick, students took on the roles of attorneys and brief writers as they presented their oral arguments before a panel of judges that included Chief Justice Tom Barletta, retired Naval Lieutenant Commander Chris Tharrington, former Dranesville District Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn, Professor David Koplow, lawyer Emily Hoechst, Langley High School assistant principal Fred Amico and several of their AP Government classmates.

The event was the 15th annual "Case Day," a Langley High School program that offers students an in-depth portrait of how the United States Supreme Court affects American life by focusing on a single case drawn from the current year's Supreme Court docket. Students read briefs, interview people involved in the case and research related issues presented in the case. After hundreds of hours of student and teacher work, the students participate in the six-hour Case Day program which addresses political, statutory and constitutional issues related to the topic.

In addition to the mock Supreme Court trial, students participated in several debates and had the opportunity to listen to a lineup of guest speakers that included ABC news correspondent Manuel Medrano and United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"They were really tough on them this year," said Langley High School principal William Clendaniel at the end of the mock Supreme Court proceedings. "But they handled it better than ever."

<1b>— Aranya Tomseth