U of I team competes in HNBA Virtual Moot Court Competition
May 20, 2020
The University of Idaho College of Law was preparing its first-ever Hispanic National Bar Association moot court team for competition in Arizona when the stay-at-home orders were first issued. Represented by first-year Vivi Gonzalez and second-year Maria Horta Vorse, oral arguments were postponed and then moved online.
Vivi and Maria joined the HNBA to network with professionals and decided to take advantage of this great opportunity to sharpen their appellate argument skills. They submitted their brief on Feb. 7th for Department of Homeland Security v. Diaz, a timely U.S. Supreme Court case.
The arguments sought to answer two questions: 1) whether their client’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act, and 2) whether the decision to rescind DACA is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
Maria and Vivi have taken very different paths to law school – one was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. in her twenties, and the other was born and raised in southern Idaho and works for the University. Both women call Idaho home. Their families are here, they live and work here, and they want to practice law here. They are passionate about the fact that DACA needs to be resolved, and that it needs to be done thoughtfully. They’d like to be involved in finding a solution.
“Working on this case will be a great exercise for us in balancing our personal beliefs with our professional approach to representing clients,” they agreed. “We have strong arguments and can see both sides of the issue.”
The case looks at administrative procedure, whether DACA was legally enacted, and whether executive actions should be more limited. When asked about representing either party on an issue they each personally care about, both Maria and Vivi shared that, while they are passionate about immigration, as an attorney you don’t always get to choose your client.
Maria and Vivi are honored to have been coached by Professor Richard Seamon and for all of the questions and feedback from faculty and staff in their practice arguments