Registration for May 11, 2024 Tournament



Date: May 11, 2024

Location: The Collective Academy, 247 N 100 E St, Orem UT, 84057

Time: 9am - 5pm


Register By: May 6, 2024

Utah Time (MST)

Check In - 8:30-9:00
Orientation - 9:00- 9:15
Round 1 - 9:15-10:45
Round 2 - 10:45- 12:15 ​
Lunch - 12:00-1:00
Round 3 - 1:00-2:30
Round 4 - 2:30-4:00





The Case

The case we will be trying is one currently under review by the Supreme Court: City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Gloria Johnson, et al. This case centers around the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the 8th Amendment. The Court will hear oral arguments on April 22.


Case Info

The city of Grants Pass in southern Oregon has a population of approximately 38,000, and of that population, somewhere between 50 and 600 persons are unhoused. Whatever the exact number of unhoused persons, however, it exceeds the number of available shelter beds, requiring that at least some of them sleep on the streets or in parks. However, several provisions of the Grants Pass Municipal Code prohibit them from doing so, including an “anti-sleeping” ordinance, two “anti-camping” ordinances, a “park exclusion” ordinance, and a “park exclusion appeals” ordinance.

In September 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided Martin v. City of Boise, holding that “the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter.” While the Grants Pass Municipal Code provisions impose only civil penalties, they still can mature into criminal penalties.

A district court certified a class of plaintiffs of involuntarily unhoused persons living in Grants Pass and concluded that, based on the unavailability of shelter beds, the City’s enforcement of its anti-camping and anti-sleeping ordinances violated the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. A panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed, and the Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc.

The question is this: does a city’s enforcement of public camping prohibitions against involuntarily homeless people violate the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment?



Moot Court is a team event where two students, registered together as one team, argue a legal case against another team in front of a panel of judges, simulating a supreme court appellate hearing.

Before the competition, a case is announced. All hearings at the competition will be based on that case.

Upon registration, each team is assigned to represent either the Petitioner or the Respondent in the case.

To prepare, each team will analyze the case, conduct research on relevant case law, craft arguments for their side, and, optionally, prepare a written brief that details their arguments.

Teams who wish to participate in the written brief portion of the competition must submit their briefs no later than the Monday prior to the competition. Briefs may be emailed to

On the day of the competition, each team will participate in one hearing. The actual structure of the hearing is as follows:

- Petitioners give up to 20 mins oral arguments presenting their case (Petitioners can choose to reserve up to 3 mins of their time for rebuttal),

- Respondents give up to 20 mins oral arguments presenting their case,

- If Petitioners reserved any time, they spend that time on rebuttal,

- Judges deliberate and deliver a ruling.

During oral arguments, team members will take turns presenting arguments. It is up to each team to divide responsibilities and speaking time relatively evenly. We should note that judges will interrupt teams as they present their oral arguments, asking questions and challenging arguments. An important part of preparing for Moot Court is preparing to engage with the judges in this sort of dialogue.

Teams will be judged based on criteria outlined in the American Moot Court Association ballot, which are their knowledge of the subject matter, their response to questions from the panel, their forensic skills (presentation) and courtroom decorum, and the organization, logic and clarity of their arguments. 

Debaters are allowed to bring notes and prepared resources into the hearing/round, but not laptops or other electronic devices used for storing information. Strict rules regarding decorum are maintained during the hearing. These rules may be found in the IEP’s Moot Court Rules of Competition and Style Guide.



- SCOTUSblog lists all of the official legal submissions from parties involved in the case in chronological order.


- You will probably want to start your research by reading the writ of certiorari, filed by the Petitioners, to begin understanding the case. You can go from there. You likely will not have time to read every brief filed for the case. Focus on briefs filed by the Petitioners and Respondents along with the actual statute in question, Section 203(c)(1), and then branch out from there to briefs amicus curiae and other legal resources.


- If any of these terms go over your head, don’t worry, they do for most people at first. Look up terms as you research and you will become familiar with them more quickly than you might think.


Any team composed of high school students may register for this competition, regardless of enrollment in a Moot Court class.