By Greggory Sullivan, PA
Each summer, select delegates from each state attend the Conference on National Affairs (CONA), but often, the delegates involved with the statewide judicial programs decide not to attend. This is because CONA only involves legislative and media positions. Delegates of the judicial program usually prefer to attend the National Judicial Competition (NJC).
Held each summer, NJC is a chance for accomplished attorneys and justices to display their skills and indulge their passion for the judicial system on a national level. Just like the statewide model conventions, NJC is comprised of several rounds of case arguments involving attorneys who argue either side of a case and justices who ask tough questions in order to test the attorneys’ preparedness. The best, most well informed and most prepared move on to higher rounds. NJC also includes a mock trial where delegates carry out a full-blown court case with witnesses, prosecuting attorneys and evidence. This is also featured at most model conventions, but some states’ judicial programs are too diminutive to fill out all of the roles involved with the trial and so, forgo it at state conventions.
It should be noted, however, that NJC is not exclusive to delegates of the judicial branch, nor is CONA exclusive to non-judicial delegates. Opening oneself to new experiences and trying different things is how one achieves personal growth. Therefore, judicial delegates are allowed and even encouraged to apply for CONA, and non-judicial delegates are welcome to attend NJC to experience the judicial program at its finest. Harrison Vollmer, a third-year Florida delegate, attended NJC without any prior experience in judicial and had a great time. “NJC is a really great opportunity for any delegate regardless of judicial experience,” says Vollmer. Likewise, many judicial delegates are more than content with filling a legislative or media role at CONA. That is exactly what the Youth and Government program is all about: stepping out of one’s comfort zone and trying new things to grow and become a more rounded person.