Supreme Court Justice Thurgood W. Marshall presided over the final argument of the Ames Moot Court Competition last night before 600 people at the Law School.
Judge Henry J. Friendly of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Harrison L. Winter of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals also presided.
The hypothetical case before the moot court concerned a paroled official of the Carriers Guild Union who, by the conditions of his parole, could not hold union office until the time at which his original prison sentence would have expired.
The case strongly resembles an appeal of James R.Hoffa, former president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who is currently trying to have the restrictions on the commutation of his prison sentence removed.
The judges cited Jeffrey B. Rudman as having presented the best oral arguments of the night, and gave the Marshall Club, which argued the government side of the case, the award for best presentation.
The Ames Moot Court competition involves third year students at the Law School who argue before a panel of invited judges. The final competition represents the culmination of the Ames Program, which requires first year students to argue a hypothetical case as a means of gaining courtroom experience.
Charles Nesson '60, professor of Law, said last night's Ames finals were the "most successful" he had ever seen, and attributed the success to the subject matter and the people involved.
Leonard Boudin, who is representing Hoffa in his appeal to remove the restrictions on union activity attached to his parole, was in the audience.
Boudin said last night that the judges "showed more sophistication, learning and humor than I've seen in quite a while."
Justices Marshall and Friendly were particularly vocal in challenging the arguments of the competitors, often inviting outbursts of laughter from the audience.
He added that the level and delivery of arguments surpassed most of the arguments presented before the Supreme Court.
Boudin said that attending the Moot Court helped him clarify his own arguments and feelings about the Hoffa case, which he will argue next January.