Purcellville, Virginia — An evangelical Christian college for homeschoolers who have an interest in law and government has won its fifth consecutive moot court tournament, holding onto its title as national champion.
Patrick Henry College, founded by constitutional attorney and homeschooling father Michael Farris less than 15 years ago, has quickly rose to being one of the top colleges in the nation for turning out strong legal debaters. This year, the college contended against 300 teams nationwide in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association Championship. The event was held at Pat Robertson’s Regent University law school in Virginia Beach.
Moot court can be defined as a simulated court proceeding that involves oral argument before a panel of judges. Students must arbitrate the subject matter at hand before all of those present with great knowledge of federal case law and the ability to cite it adeptly.
After the first nine rounds of the regional tournament, approximately 75 percent of the teams were eliminated. Rising to the top was Andrew Ferguson, a senior at Patrick Henry College who also took home the championship last year. Ferguson becomes the second student at the college to win two national tournaments in a row.
“Winning a national championship is not an individual effort,” he stated. “It takes a hard-working partner, a supportive team, excellent coaches, and most of all the blessing of a gracious God. Without any of these, winning is an impossibility.”
Ferguson’s moot court partner this year was sophomore Katie Tipton. Together, Ferguson and Tipton beat out hundreds of students from across the country, helping Patrick Henry College hold onto its title of being the five-year undefeated moot court champion. The school has seven championships to its name of all time out of the 13 years that it has been in existence.
According to reports, one of the commitments of the college’s founder, Michael Farris, is to never accept federal funding, but to rather run solely on donations from supporters. Farris also serves as president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, founded in 1983. The organization helps to defend homeschoolers nationwide whose constitutional right and Biblical mandate is to raise their children at home in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It also serves as a lobbying group of sorts in that it “works to defeat or amend harmful bills, [and] also works proactively, introducing legislation to protect and preserve family freedoms.”
Additionally, Farris and Patrick Henry College were featured in a well-received Christian film in 2009 called Come What May. The drama, produced by homeschoolers, centers on a fictional student named Caleb Hogan and his partner, Rachel Morton, who contend for the moot court championship. The team’s assignment is to successfully argue overturning the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. During the film, Hogan discovers that his mother, an attorney, had been assigned to argue in favor of abortion in front of the Supreme Court in a separate case involving parental notification. The challenge before Caleb is to “do what’s right, come what may.”
Photo: Patrick McKay