Ames Final Round
The Ames Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions for appellate brief writing and advocacy in the country. Students participating in the Final Round started the competition in the fall of their 2L year. From there, two teams progress to the Final Round through their strong research abilities and excellent written and oral advocacy. The Final Round is traditionally judged by this country’s preeminent jurists. Past Ames Competition winners include Professor Cass Sunstein, Dean Kathleen Sullivan, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Justice Harry Blackmun. Click here for a list of past winners of the Competition.
The teams that competed in the 2018 Ames Final Round are below, as well as a summary of the case and the briefs submitted for the Final Round.
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The Grace Murray Hopper Memorial Team
The Clarence Earl Gideon Memorial Team
Groves v. Gallant
Petitioner Ian Groves is a lifelong firearms enthusiast. In recent years, Groves developed an
interest in 3D-printing technology, and he became highly skilled at creating a form of computer
code, known as a CAD file, that can program a 3D printer to print a 3D object. Groves has
created a CAD file that can be used to print a 3D firearm he has named “The Releaser,” and he
wants to publish his design on the Internet so that individuals in Ames can freely print handguns.
Groves would also like to possess firearms for self-defense and for the defense of his family.
Ames law prohibits Groves from possessing a gun or from uploading his CAD file for The
Releaser to the Internet. Under Ames Rev. Stat. § 18-133(a), Groves cannot possess a gun
because of his prior criminal history. In 2002, Groves was convicted of three counts of
manufacturing fake IDs for himself and two college friends. Those crimes, which were
classified as misdemeanors under state law, were punishable by up to five years of
imprisonment—although Groves was sentenced to probation instead of jail time. Section 18-
133(a), which incorporates federal law, prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm if he
has been convicted of a state misdemeanor punishable by more than two years of imprisonment.
Groves accordingly is barred from possessing guns, although he has not committed any crimes
since his 2002 convictions.
Ames law also prohibits individuals from publishing CAD files on the Internet that can be used
to automatically program a 3D printer to print a firearm. The Ames Legislature enacted that
restriction, Ames Rev. Stat. § 18-726(a), after an assailant used a 3D-printed gun to kill family
members in a domestic dispute. The Ames Legislature found that the proliferation of 3D-printed
firearms would pose a threat to public safety because they can be printed by dangerous
individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal law, they lack
serial numbers necessary for tracing, and they can be printed entirely out of plastic and so evade
metal detectors at security checkpoints.
Groves filed suit against state officials to challenge both provisions of Ames law. He contends
that Section 18-133(a) violates the Second Amendment as applied to him because,
notwithstanding his criminal history, he remains within “the people” who have a fundamental
right “to keep and bear Arms.” And he argues that Section 18-726(a) violates the First
Amendment because it regulates protected speech and cannot survive constitutional scrutiny.
The district court rejected those arguments and the Ames Circuit affirmed.
The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider:
(1) Whether Ames Rev. Stat. § 18-133(a) violates the Second Amendment as applied to
(2) Whether Ames Rev. Stat. § 18-726(a) violates the Free Speech Clause of the First
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