Constitutional Law takes fifth at State We the People Competition

Michael Murray, Staffer

The Lake Oswego High School Advanced Constitutional Law class recently took fifth place at the We The People State Constitutional Competition. The competition required students to demonstrate their understanding of the Constitution and to recall relevant information to defend a legal argument. Members of the team include Seniors: Alayna Frentress, Bella Hunter, Jason Intihar, Andrew Johnson, Sera Lew, Sean Lin, Dalia Liu, Joe O’Gara, Sam Palmer, Ashley Piccolo, Alyssa Seibt, Yoonie Shin, Nick Surina, Joey Takach, Nathan Thornburg, Nick Weber, Lauren Welton, Selena Zhang and Matthew Zimmerman.

There were six LOHS teams that competed at the state competition. These teams are referred to as “units” and consist of three people each, with each unit focusing on a different aspect of constitutional law. While one unit may focus on the Bill of Rights, another unit may focus on philosophers like Locke and Aristotle and how they influenced the democratic system and the U.S. Constitution.

At the state competition, each unit receives three questions related to their area of focus, which they answer in a four minute prepared speech. After the four minute prepared speech, a panel of judges asks follow-up questions for six minutes. The panel of judges usually consists of lawyers, judges, and other people who work in law professionally. The students do not know these questions beforehand, but they strive to answer each question with as much evidence as possible, citing  Constitutional references, current events, case law and philosophy.

Students are able to compete at the We The People Competition as a part of LOHS’ Advanced Constitutional Law Class. Liu says that the class and the competition “help you to understand a lot of contemporary issues from a legal perspective, which is always interesting because it’s not a topic most people have an understanding of. Mr. Koepping and our coaches teach us to think critically about everything and analyze issues we hadn’t even thought of before. It’s also extremely fun.”

Piccolo agrees, “I think that the most important thing that I got out of Con Law was learning how to articulate my thoughts on the spot and have evidence to back it up. I also gained a lot of confidence in terms of public speaking and sharing my viewpoints with others. I really enjoy how throughout the class and competition you learn so much about topics that you may have never really thought about before.”