Arkansas School of Law Students Argue Before the 9th Circuit Court
Posted on May 12, 2014
Two University of Arkansas School of Law students presented oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.
Third-year law students Mason Boling and Lauren Murphy argued a prisoner civil rights appeal, Colwell v. Bannister, as part of the school’s Federal Appellate Litigation Project. The project is supervised by School of Law Professor Dustin Buehler.
The case is an appeal by Nevada prisoner John Colwell. Colwell alleges Nevada prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs by refusing to remove a cataract that has blinded him in his right eye for more than a decade. He contends the prison unconstitutionally adheres to a “one-eye policy,” refusing cataract surgery as long as a prisoner has adequate vision in his or her other eye.
Murphy delivered the initial argument, and Boling provided the rebuttal. An audio recording of the argument is available. A decision in the case is expected within the next few months.
“Lauren and Mason did a fantastic job, delivering one of the best student arguments I have witnessed,” said Buehler. “It is such a privilege to work with Arkansas law students on this project; the amount of learning that takes place during the course of the year is truly remarkable.”
At the close of argument, Presiding Judge William Fletcher stated, “On behalf of the court, we’re very grateful for the pro bono projects that provide representation at this stage,” then thanked the University of Arkansas students and expressed the court’s “appreciation for a job well done.”
Each year, the University of Arkansas Federal Appellate Litigation Project provides two third-year students with the opportunity to brief and argue an appeal before a federal appellate court, under the supervision of Buehler. Students review and analyze the trial court record, research legal issues, draft sections of the opening and reply briefs, and then present oral argument.
“The Federal Appellate Litigation Project is one of the law school’s many opportunities for law students to gain practical skills prior to graduation.” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law. “These students go out into the workforce having already argued a case before a federal appellate court, and they have been exceptionally well-mentored during the process by Professor Buehler.”