The 33rd annual Florida/Georgia moot court competition will be Friday, Nov. 1, at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse in Jacksonville.
Regarded as a tradition in the Jacksonville legal community, this competition between the University of Florida and University of Georgia Colleges of Law is held annually on the Friday before the Florida-Georgia football game.
The competition replicates an argument before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning a current, but unresolved issue of federal constitutional law.
The competition began 33 years ago when Mark Hulsey, a partner with Smith Hulsey & Busey and a University of Florida graduate, was asked by the university’s College of Law dean to sponsor a competition between the moot court teams of the University of Florida and the University of Georgia.
Hulsey reached out to Charlie Kimbrell, a lawyer practicing in Miami and a University of Georgia graduate. The two men, both combat veterans of the World War II, agreed to co-sponsor the competition.
The event was held from 1970-2010 and was called the Florida/Georgia-Hulsey/Kimbrell.
In 2006, Charlie Kimbrell passed away; Hulsey passed away in 2011. That year, the competition did not occur due to lack of funds.
In 2012, Atlanta-based law firm Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP agreed to co-sponsor the event with Smith Hulsey & Busey.
The event is now called
the “Florida/Georgia-Hulsey/Gambrell” moot court competition named after Hulsey and E. Smythe Gambrell, a founding partner of Smith Gambrell & Russell.
Gambrell was the president of the American Bar Association and American Bar Foundation from 1955-56 and founded the Legal Aid Society in Atlanta, where he practiced law from 1922 until his death in 1986.
Hulsey was president of The Florida Bar from 1969-70 and The Jacksonville Bar Association in 1962. He also served as chairman of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission.
The panel of participating judges in this year’s competition are: The Honorable William Terrell Hodges, Senior District Judge, Middle District of Florida; The Honorable B. Avant Edenfield, District Judge, South District of Georgia; The Honorable Gerald B. Tjoflat, Circuit Judge, 11th Circuit Court of Appeal; The Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood, Chief Judge, Southern District of Georgia; and The Honorable Marcia Morales Howard, District Judge, Middle District of Florida.
Senior District Judge John H. Moore, who passed away on July 18, served on the judicial panel many times and will be remembered at this year’s event.
The record on appeal for this year’s competition concerns an online blogger held in contempt for refusing to reveal the identity of his sources for a series of online stories about the mob.
The issues to be decided by the court include whether the First Amendment prohibits the blogger from being held in contempt and whether the Freedom of Information Act permits the release of a booking photograph.
All members of the public are welcome to attend the competition, which will occur in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Courtroom on the 13th floor of the Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse.
The competition begins at 9:30 a.m. and should end by noon.