LATROBE, Pennsylvania – On May 1, two Saint Vincent College criminology, law and society majors had the unique opportunity to present an oral argument before a legal panel on a challenging issue of constitutional law.
Jessica Gibbs, a junior from Lemont Furnace (Laurel Highlands High School) and Rachel Vanetta, a junior from Gibsonia (Kiski Area) presented an oral argument on a case involving a young woman suing an adoption agency to learn the identity of her birth mother. The arguments raised constitutional issues regarding whether she had a right of privacy to learn the identity or whether the birth mother’s concerns about anonymity would supersede any claims that the plaintiff had.
The arguments took place in the Fred M. Rogers Center on the Saint Vincent campus. The Hon. Meagan Bilik-Defazio, a 1990 Saint Vincent graduate who sits on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, was the presiding judge. She was joined on the panel by attorneys Ned Nakles, a 1979 Saint Vincent graduate, and Terry Ferguson, father of current Saint Vincent College senior Adam Ferguson.
The panel uniformly praised the briefs written by the students as well as the high quality of the oral argument they presented. The students’ participation was part of the Constitutional Litigation course offered by Bruce Antkowiak, chair of the Saint Vincent criminology, law and society department and head legal counsel for Saint Vincent College and Archabbey.
Gibbs and Vanetta both plan to enroll in Saint Vincent’s Master of Science in Criminology program after graduation, and thereafter pursue their own legal careers.
PHOTO 1: Jessica Gibbs in front of the legal panel of Ned Nakles (left), Judge Meagan Bilik-Defazio (center) and Terry Ferguson (right)
PHOTO 2: Jessica Gibbs
PHOTO 3: Rachel Vanetta
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