Local News

Wednesday, Dec 04 2013 10:04 PM

Earl Warren Cup winner aces competition

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Kaitlin Macaranas reacts after winning Bakersfield High School's coveted 2013 Earl Warren Cup on Wednesday.

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    Casey Christie / The Californian Bakersfield High school teacher Jeremy Adams, left, the founder of the Earl Warren Cup, makes a grand entrance Wednesday night at the beginning of the quiz competition in Harvey Auditorium.

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    Casey Christie / The Californian John Sorenson gives his opponent, Morgan Ehly, left, a hug after winning a round in the Earl Warren Cup quiz competition in Harvey Auditorium Wednesday.

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    Casey Christie / The Californian The Earl Warren Cup contestants at Bakersfield High School have a good time on stage before a packed Harvey Auditorium for the quiz competition.

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    Casey Christie / The Californian Bridget Dunphy, right, and Kaitlin Macaranas hug after competing against each other during the annual Earl Warren Cup quiz competition at Bakersfield High School Wednesday. Macaranas won this round and eventually won the competition.

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BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer cedelhart@bakersfield.com

Kaitlin Macaranas captured Bakersfield High School's coveted 2013 Earl Warren Cup Wednesday night by correctly answering the question of which U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down President Bill Clinton's use of the line-item veto.

The answer was Clinton v. City of New York.

With that, Abba's "Dancing Queen" song blared across Bakersfield High School's Harvey Auditorium, confetti and balloons dropped, and Macaranas self-consciously held the eighth championship trophy.

Thirty-two senior students in BHS government teacher Jeremy Adams' Advanced Placement Government class -- seeded for the competition according to their grade point average in the class -- began the competition that tests students' knowledge of constitutional law and politics.

In front of a crowd estimated between 1,100 and 1,400 people, they faced off two-by-two during a tense two hours until they were whittled down to two finalists, Macaranas, the sixth seed, and No. 1 seed Patrick Crowley.

They both answered some difficult questions (Who was the author of the Supreme Court decision Schenck v. United States about free speech? Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.) and missed some tough ones, too (Who was America's first diplomat to England? John Adams).

Before the competition Jeremy Adams had compiled 550 questions; during the course of the evening he asked about 200.

The event is known for interspersing videotaped questions from luminaries in politics and popular culture with live questions presented by Adams, the Earl Warren Cup creator.

This year's competition did not disappoint for high profile taped appearances.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy kicked off the competition by reading the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, calling it a "beautiful piece of writing," and saying it was "of the utmost importance" for all generations to understand it.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan asked three questions, beginning with, "Which amendment reserves power to the states and to the people?"

Answer: the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked the identity of his predecessor in the Texas governor's mansion.

Answer: George W. Bush.

Actor Kevin Spacey, who plays fictional House Majority Whip Francis Underwood on the show "House of Cards," asked who said it was better to be feared than loved.

Answer: Niccolò Machiavelli.

Gov. Jerry Brown asked if any U.S. presidents called California home.

Answer: Ronald Reagan

Youth betrayed the contestants frequently, with recent current events often beyond their grasp. One student, for instance, couldn't recall who John McCain picked as a running mate in the 2008 presidential election. It was, of course, then-Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Yet instant answers sprang forth from seemingly obscure questions, such as the name of the legal test applied to determine when it's appropriate to fund private schools with public money (The Lemon Test) or the year of the Constitutional Convention (1787).

"It's really a showcase of what our students have learned" in class, Adams said afterward. "And they've learned a lot.

"I couldn't be prouder of all of them."

 

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