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Bushrod Tournament

The Bushrod T. Washington Moot Court Tournament is a competition among William & Mary law students for membership on the Moot Court Team. Competitors take turns arguing a current issue in constitutional law in a mock Supreme Court setting. Past issues have included Fourth Amendment rights against the search of smartphone data during an arrest, Second Amendment rights issues for concealed weapons permits, and First Amendment rights protecting student free speech in the social media context. After two or three weeks of argument, the team will select the competitors who displayed the best mastery of the issues, poise, and persuasive style to join the team for the remainder of their time at William & Mary. These new members will then be eligible to compete in other tournaments throughout the country.


The eight competitors with the highest scores continue to compete for one more week in a single-elimination tournament. The final round is held in conjunction with the annual awarding of the Edmund Randolph Silver Tongue Award. The Silver Tongue Award recognizes outstanding appellate advocacy. The Institute of Bill of Rights Law presents the Award annually to a seasoned appellate practitioner who has dedicated his or her career to the improvement and enhancement of the standards of appellate practice, the administration of justice, and the ethics of the legal profession. The Awardee sits as chief justice with a panel of law school faculty to judge the final round of the Bushrod Tournament.


The 2021 Edmund Randolph "Silver Tongue" Award recipient was Kannon Shanmugam, partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Mr. Shanmugam has argued many cases before the United States Supreme Court, and prior to private practice, he served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice.


Previous Recipients

2021 Mike Bellis

2020 Danielle Musselman

2019 Caitlin Halligan

2018 Erwin Chemerinksy

2017 Jeffrey Fischer

2016 Kathleen M. Sullivan

2015 Thomas C. Goldstein

2014 Paul M. Smith

2013 Walter E. Dellinger

2012 Carter G. Phillips

2011 Edwin S. Kneedler

2010 Beth S. Brinkmann