Environmental Clinic Student Argues Before Illinois Appellate Court

Graduating law student Austin M. Moore argued last week before the Illinois Court of Appeals for the Fourth District in Springfield, Illinois. Moore, who participated in the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic (IEC) in spring 2016, appeared in accordance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711.

Moore represented the members of Save Our Sandy (SOS), who oppose the construction in their rural neighborhood of a large-scale livestock facility that would contain nearly 20,000 hogs. At the close of the argument, the presiding judge complimented Moore: “You did a fine job. You have a bright legal future.”

“Appellate oral argument is a challenge for even a seasoned litigator,” observed IEC Attorney Elizabeth J. Hubertz, “because it calls for a comprehensive knowledge of all facets of the case, a thorough understanding of the bodies of law on which the argument turns, and the ability to think quickly while responding to questions from the judges. Austin met the challenge and came through with flying colors. I am so proud of him.”

Hubertz helped Moore prepare for oral argument, along with IEC Director Maxine I. Lipeles, and law faculty members Ann Davis Shields and Mary L. Perry.

Rule 711 allows third-year law students (and some second-year students) to appear in Illinois courts under the supervision of a licensed attorney. “It was a fantastic experience,” Moore said. “I learned a lot from the opportunity and expect that it will help me as I graduate and move forward with my career.” Moore will clerk next year for the Honorable Thomas Brothers of the Davidson County Sixth Circuit Court in Nashville, Tennessee.

The IEC has represented SOS since mid-2015, and Moore continued the work of graduating law students Brian Hall, Jacob Crabtree, and Christine Shang from earlier semesters. IEC students and faculty worked with SOS to challenge the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s administrative decision to allow construction of the large hog facility.

The defendants-appellees, including the State of Illinois, claimed that only the hog facility’s owner could ask a court to review the Department’s decision. The IEC, representing SOS members, argued that neighbors of the facility, who will be injured by its construction and who participated extensively throughout the administrative proceedings, also have the ability to seek judicial review.

A recording of the oral argument is available at the court’s website. The argument was covered by the Peoria Journal Star.