Court of Appeal to Judge Moot Court

for release

Contact: Lynn Holton, Public Information Officer, 415-865-7726

March 22, 2012

Court of Appeal to Judge Moot Court at Pepperdine Law School on March 29

RIVERSIDE—The Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division Two (Riverside), will judge the final round of the Colonel John L. and Maria Moriarity First Year Moot Court Competition at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at Pepperdine Law School, Mendenhall Appellate Court Room, in Malibu, it was announced today. 

The event will be the first joint community outreach program by the Court of Appeal and Pepperdine Law School. Led by Presiding Justice Manuel A. Ramirez, Division Two has an active community outreach program that features special court sessions on high school campuses and classroom visits by justices and attorneys.

At a reception following the event, Justice Betty Ann Richli, a 1977 Pepperdine Law School graduate, will receive the 2012 Waves of Service Award from Pepperdine School of Law. Presiding Justice Ramirez will speak on “Women and the Law” and discuss Justice Richli’s achievements as a member of the bench and bar, as well as her many contributions to the legal community.

The moot court competition will feature a hypothetical case argued before an imaginary U.S. Supreme Court. In the case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sues the fictitious Museum of Religious Tolerance (Museum) for terminating an employee allegedly because of her religious beliefs and female gender, in violation of a federal statute prohibiting discrimination on those grounds.

The imaginary district court dismisses the EEOC complaint, and a majority of a fictitious circuit court of appeals panel affirms. Both courts agree that the Museum was a religious organization and that the employee was a minister, and that a religious organization may fire its ministers because of their religious beliefs, which is an exception to the general statutory prohibition against discrimination for religious beliefs. However, the dissenter to the appellate court affirmance argues that Museum’s mission and goals were primarily secular, not religious, and that the employee was merely a sales clerk in a gift shop, not a minister.

Pepperdine Law School Dean Deanell Reece Tacha served on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before her appointment as dean of the law school on June 1, 2011.

For more information about the program, call Paula Garcia, Assistant Clerk/Administrator, at 951-782-2500 or call Ashleigh Martell, Administrative Assistant for Pepperdine University School of Law, at 310-506-4840.