March 30, 2017
Judge Leonard I. Garth, who served on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, came up with the idea for an appellate moot court competition between law students in Camden and Newark.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. will come to Rutgers Law School on April 11, to judge the first-ever Judge Leonard I. Garth competition for Rutgers Law students.

This competition, which challenges students to give arguments about a hypothetical First Amendment case, will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the Baker Court Room on April 11, at Rutgers Law School, 123 Washington St., Newark.

The competition is named after Judge Garth, for over forty years a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who died last September, and for whom Justice Alito clerked during the 1976-1977 court term. Judge Garth was a well-known figure at Rutgers Law School, having served as an adjunct professor of appellate advocacy for 20 years.  His law clerks created a fund that sponsored an annual lecture series in his name, and before his death in 2016, he approved converting the program to an appellate moot court competition between teams of law students from both the Camden and Newark campuses.

Justice Alito will be the chairperson of a panel of federal judges, who will judge the competition. Justice Alito clerked for Judge Garth from 1967 to 1977, in his first job out of law school and was the first speaker in Judge Garth’s annual lecture series in 2011.

A two-person team of law students from Camden will compete against a two-person team from Newark. The students chosen for this year’s competition are:  Kayla Louis and Katrina Xyloportas from Camden and Stephen Marietta and Laura Garcia in Newark. The winners of the competition will have their names engraved on a perpetual plaque that will be hung at both the Newark and Camden law school campuses.

Rutgers Law School Co-dean Ronald K. Chen ’83, who has the title of Judge Leonard I. Garth Scholar, and who served as Judge Garth’s law clerk from 1983-84, has said, “He was a role model for what every judge, lawyer and indeed, person should strive to be: principled, courageous, industrious, and compassionate.”

Anna Charlton, an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School, who clerked for Judge Garth from 1991-1992 said, “His clerks became members of the Garth family, and I will always be grateful for his generosity in teaching us so very much about what it is to be a lawyer, and the responsibility we bear to our clients and the judicial system.”

From 2013 until his death, Judge Garth held the distinction of being the only sitting federal judge for whom a member of the United States Supreme Court has clerked.

Judge Garth’s former clerks also are invited to attend the competition, which will be open to the public.

About Judge Leonard I. Garth:

Judge Garth was born on April 27, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 1942. After graduating from Columbia, he was selected as a Rockefeller Foundation Intern for post-graduate student with the National Institute of Public Affairs.

He served in World War II as a U.S. Army Lieutenant from 1943-1946 and afterwards, attended Harvard Law School, opening a private practice in Paterson.  He practiced law in New Jersey as a member of the law firm of Cole, Berman & Garth (now Cole Schotz P.C.) until he was appointed to U.S. District Court by President Richard M. Nixon.

He served as a district court judge from 1970-1973, when he was elevated to the Third Circuit.  Although he stopped sitting on merits panels in 2013, at the time of his death, he was still performing judicial service primarily in deciding motions before the Court.

In 2011, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals dedicated the atrium in the Martin Luther King Jr. Building and U.S. Courthouse in Newark in Judge Garth’s name.

During his years of practice, Judge Garth participated in numerous bar association and related activities in New Jersey, Federal, American and Passaic County Bar Associations; served as a member of the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners; and was an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers and Seton Hall Law Schools. He was a member of the American Law Institute, Fellow of the American Bar, and a former member of the Financial Disclosure Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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