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Getting Ready for SCOTUS

By John Masson
Feb. 15, 2013

A distinguished panel of Michigan Law professors gathered during the lunch hour today to help 1997 grad Chad Readler get ready to face the United States Supreme Court.

Joined by several large pizzas, some carryout coffee, multiple plastic tubs of biscotti, and about 100 avid student spectators who had been sworn to secrecy in not revealing the arguments they were about to hear, the professorial panel spent the next couple of hours running Readler through his paces in preparation for McQuiggin v. Perkins, a Michigan case scheduled for argument at the Supreme Court Feb. 25.

Questions facing the Court when it hears the case: Is there an actual-innocence exception to requirements that petitioners show an extraordinary circumstance that prevented timely filing of a habeas petition? And if there is, is there an additional actual-innocence exception to requirements that petitioners demonstrate they've been pursuing their rights "diligently?"

"I met Mr. Readler last year when he was giving a talk on pro bono," said 2L Todd Bullion of MLaw's The Federalist Society, which organized the event. "He said he would be arguing before the Supreme Court, so I offered to put a moot together for him. It's good for him, and it's good for the School."

Serving as mock justices were professors Sonja Starr, Sam Gross, Eve Brensike Primus, and Nick Bagley. Serving as stand-in for the Michigan attorney general was Prof. Rich Friedman.

The moot, conducted in Hutchins Hall's Honigman Auditorium, was followed by a Q&A with audience members and a lengthy analysis of the mooted argument provided by the professors.

Readler said the whole event was helpful as he continues his meticulous preparations.

"It was a terrific turnout—I was excited to see so many students come out for it," said Readler, a partner at Jones Day. "I'm especially appreciative of the faculty's time, including faculty I studied under while I was at Law School."

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