92. Come What May (2009)
summary from imdb.com:
Caleb and Rachel team up to lead the Patrick Henry College team in the intense world of collegiate moot court competition. Caleb looks to date Rachel, but she’s waiting for courtship. Meanwhile, Caleb becomes caught in a moral tug-of-war between his parents – a newly Christian father and a feminist attorney mother. Caleb’s mom goes before the U.S. Supreme Court defending abortion, even as Caleb simultaneously takes on the opposing legal argument at the national moot court championship.
directed by: Manny Edwards, George D. Escobar
starring: Austin Kearney, Victoria Emmons
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Moot Court Team member 1: So, what have we got?
Victoria Emmons: It’s the parental notification case.
Moot Court Team member 1: Sweet.
Victoria: Yeah, overturn Roe v Wade.
Austin Kearney: Overturn Roe? You can’t argue that. You say “overturn Roe” in America’s liberal wasteland, and Bam! You lose!
Moot Court Team member 1: We’re scored on preparation and presentation. Make your argument well, and you win.
Austin: Noooooo… You say that at all, and they’ll think you’re crazy, and you lose.
Moot Court Team member 1: What else is there?
Austin: Well I don’t know yet.
Moot Court Team member 1: Listen, you do what you want. But I’m going for the big one.
Austin: Fine. Just don’t pick me for a partner. What do you think?
Victoria: It needs to be overturned.
Austin: You’re not overturning anything. It’s not a real case.
Victoria: It doesn’t matter. It’s the principle.
Austin: What principle? It’s moot court. It’s not real.
Michael Farris: So team, what do you think? Should we get to work dismantling Roe v Wade?
Austin: Sir, overturn Roe… In these circumstances, I just don’t think that’s a winner right there.
Michael: Well, what do the rest of you think?
Moot Court Team members: Let’s do it. Sure. Yeah. Why not!
Victoria: I’m all for taking that risk.
Michael: It is a risk, but it’s one I would encourage you to take.
Austin: Dr. Farris, are you forbidding me from making a different argument?
Michael: Not necessarily. It’s not something I would do. But that’s something you’re gonna have to decide. Along with your partner.
Victoria Emmons: “This case is on appeal to the US Supreme Court from the State of Arcadia Supreme Court.” State law says “If a woman 18 or younger seeks an abortion, the doctor has to tell her parents three days before the procedure.” Well fourteen year old Miss Doe went to get an abortion, and Dr. Crabshaw did not notify the parents. They found out, and sued Dr. Crabshaw. The judge threw the case out. He said it was so early in the pregnancy, the baby wasn’t viable.
Austin Kearney: And so Miss Doe’s Constitutional Right to have an abortion was absolute. Her parents didn’t even have a right to know about it.
Victoria: But the law said you don’t look at viability.
Austin: But the judge said you have to. Because if the baby isn’t viable, he has no rights under the Constitution.
Victoria: So how do you define “viable”?
Austin: Ehh, it depends on your technology. If your machines can keep him alive outside the womb, he’s viable.
Victoria: So, if the mother goes to Vanderbilt, the baby has rights under the Constitution. If she goes to the Speedy Health Mart, they can kill him?
Austin: Pretty much.
Karen Jezek: I mean, requiring a doctor to notify, well that, that just puts an impermissible burden on the young woman’s Constitutional Rights. Wouldn’t you agree?
[murmurs of agreement]
Michael Farris: So how do we structure an argument to overturn Roe v Wade?
Moot Court Team member 2: Well you could hit them on the science. I mean, you present all the evidence to prove that life begins at conception.
Moot Court Team member 1: I don’t think that’ll work. The courts will say there’s no consensus and they’ll just go with the evidence they like.
Michael: Maybe, but what if you didn’t have to prove that he was alive?
Victoria Emmons: But that’s the point, that he’s alive.
Michael: I agree, but they were talking about it scientifically. What if you didn’t have to prove it from that perspective?
Moot Court Team member 1: How do we convince the court that he was alive without proving it, sir?
Michael: Well that’s what I’m asking you. Think about it for a while. Caleb?
Austin Kearney: I have an idea about an argument that actually wouldn’t require overturning Roe.
Austin: The Supreme Court has already said that Parental rights are a fundamental right under the Constitution. So it’s important for the State to protect those rights. If a daughter goes and gets an abortion, then her parents should know about it. So all we’re asking here is for the court to make a small adjustment to Roe.
Michael: But that leaves Roe in place, doesn’t it?
Austin: Well yes, exactly. Just a small adjustment, and it’s not that much, right? I think they’d go for that. What?
Michael: Caleb, your argument leaves Roe v Wade in place.
Austin: Well fix it later. Add an exception some other time.
Michael: I would encourage you to go for the jugular. Listen, humor me for now. Instead of trying to avoid the fight, go out and fight! Find a way to win it. Don’t tell yourself it’s too hard. It’s just a problem. Solve it!
Karen Jezek: Well, you know that I’m working on Quincy v. Patterson Medical?
Victoria Emmons: The abortion case.
Karen: Yes. And, with a high profile case like that, Rachel, you could really make a name for yourself. Would you like to do that?
Victoria: No, thanks. I prefer to work on other kinds of cases.
Karen: Well, you wouldn’t have to argue the abortion side. You could just, help me to understand your side.
Victoria: I’d rather not.
Karen: I see. Well, I can respect that decision. That’s why I’m pro-choice. My position doesn’t impose on you. In fact, you can actually choose either way you want. However, your position does deny me a choice. And does impose on my freedoms. Isn’t that right?
Victoria: I’m sorry, I’m just wondering if it’s worthwhile to discuss this. I mean that very respectfully. You see, I’m afraid my answer will not persuade you. But that it will just make you mad.
Karen: Try me.
Victoria: The baby in the womb is an innocent, living creature of God. And I don’t like it when people tear him up into little tiny pieces, and throw him in the garbage. You shouldn’t have that choice.
Karen: This is about a girl not having to tell her parents. It has nothing to do with killing babies.
Victoria: You’re wrong. The baby died.
Karen: Well not every girl wants to abort her baby. How do you know her parents won’t make her kill him?
Austin Kearney: The issue is, how do you know when a baby’s life begins?
Kenneth Jezek: That’s not a biology question, you know.
Austin: No, actually, I didn’t know that.
Kenneth: No, biology has nothing to do with it. In fact, it’s so simple a ten-year-old can understand it. He doesn’t know the first thing about biology. Pick a time when you know he’s alive. Just pick any time when you know the baby is alive.
Austin: The day he’s born.
Kenneth: All right. What about the day before that. Is the baby alive the day before that?
Austin: Of course.
Kenneth: And how about the day before that?
Kenneth: Okay then. There you have it.
Austin: What do you mean?
Kenneth: Life doesn’t begin incrementally. It’s, it’s not like the baby was any more alive today, than he was a day before. It’s uh, it’s radical! It’s an event. And it only happens once in a human’s existence.
Austin: At conception.
Kenneth: No other explanation makes sense. And, it’s so simple, anyone can understand it.
Austin: But why don’t they get it?
Kenneth: It’s not that people don’t get it. They don’t want to hear it. It’s all in my book.
Austin: I wish your class could hear this.
Kenneth: What was that? I can’t teach that stuff! In fact, I’m not even sure I should publish it. I’ll probably get fired. But, I probably don’t have to worry about that. All I keep getting is rejection slips.
Michael Farris: Before you give me your argument, Caleb, let me ask you a question. Have you figured out how to reverse Roe v. Wade?
Austin Kearney: Yes, sir. The baby is a person under the 14th amendment. And as such you can’t deprive it of life without due process.
Austin: It has an unalienable right to life, granted by the Creator.
Michael: Excellent! Straight out of the Declaration of Independence. So, when does the right to life attach?
Austin: As soon as there if life.
Michael: That’s it. Can you?
Austin: Oh, yeah. Though, it seems to depend on how you look at it. It’s based on our Supreme Court cases, our Constitution, and our history. But it really is a losing argument.
Michael: But, do you believe this argument?
Austin: Uhh, well, you know, it’s sound… but ummm… the judges won’t buy it. I’m gonna lose.
Michael: So? You do what’s right. Let them do the wrong thing.
Austin: I just think I have a better chance of winning if I ask for one small exception. Instead of asking them to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Michael: There’s no guarantee you’re gonna win anyway.
Austin: I just don’t want to bat one-handed.
Michael: Caleb, sit down. Moot court becomes real court before you know it. I’m training you to argue this case in the real Supreme Court. If you were there, would you concede that Roe v. Wade is good law?
Austin: No. No, of course not.
Michael: Well that’s exactly what you’re doing when you ask the court for a little exception. Winning Moot Court is great, for the moment. But living by Christian principles, living by God’s righteousness, Caleb, that will guide your whole life.
Austin: Well, uh, it’s only a couple days ’till the tournament. So I… uhh… I should be going.
Austin Kearney: Memorizing that many case citations is a waste of time.
Victoria Emmons: When you give them exactly the right citation, without hesitation, you save time. Every second counts. Every pause, every hesitation, your time is ticking away. We need every advantage we can get. So we do need to know those case citations. I know them.
Austin: Ohhh! well in that case, go ahead.
Victoria: Bowers v. Hardwick.
Austin: 478 U.S. 186, 1986.
Victoria: Wyman v. James.
Austin: 400 U.S. 309, 1971.
Victoria: Pierce v. Society of Sisters.
Austin: 268 U.S. 510, 1925.
Victoria: Baker v. Carr.
Austin: 369 U.S. 196, 1962.
Victoria: 369 U.S. one eighty-six. That’s not good enough, the judge will look at the wrong page and you’ll be wasting seconds out of the argument, and every second counts.
Austin: I know. Keep going, we’ll come back to it.
Victoria: Griswold v. Connecticut.
Austin: ummm… okay, I’m sorry. I actually don’t seem to have that one.
Victoria: Oh, come on! It’s the landmark case on the constitutional right of privacy!
Austin: Just kidding! 381 U.S. 479, 1965. We’re gonna win, aren’t we?
Victoria: Yes! We just have to figure out how.
Austin: There is no argument that the 14th Amendment protects life. The whole issue is: Is that baby alive?
Victoria: Proving it is the problem. The courts are all over the place on this. I can’t make any sense of it.
Austin: Farris was right about this. Proving it is not just a problem. It’s impossible.
Victoria: We’re gonna have to prove it.
Austin: We can’t.
Victoria: Why not?
Austin: You can’t define life scientifically. It’s a moral question. It’s philosophy. It’s not science.
Victoria: If the judges are going to protect the baby, they’re gonna have to believe he’s alive.
Austin: Remember what Farris said? You said “the point is the baby is alive.” He said “I agree,” “but what if you didn’t have to prove it.” How does a court believe something you don’t have to prove.
both together: If it’s already in the record.
Austin: Right. Somewhere in all those cases is a legal finding that the baby in the womb is alive.
Victoria: Okay! Let’s get to it.
Karen Jezek: Hey, what are you doing here?
Kenneth Jezek: You’re working on that abortion case, aren’t you?
Karen: Yes, I am.
Kenneth: You stop it immediately.
Karen: I will not.
Kenneth: I want you off that case. Reassign it.
Karen: No. Where are you going?
Kenneth: My brother’s house.
Karen: Don, please just let me do this one case.
Kenneth: You know how I feel about this.
Karen: There is a pregnant girl out there who needs help. And you wanna make her tell her parents?
Kenneth: She can’t get her teeth pulled without her parents’ permission, but she can kill a baby without even telling them? Don’t you see what’s wrong with that?
Karen: Her parents can’t force her to rip her teeth out!
Kenneth: That makes no sense at all.
Karen: They don’t all want to kill their babies!
Kenneth: What? I don’t understand. Judith, I don’t understand.
Karen: [cries:] I… I got pregnant. And I told my parents. And they forced me to get an abortion.
Kenneth: You never told me that.
Karen: There are girls whose parents have no business giving advice to anybody!!
Kenneth: Then teach them to be better parents. But don’t protect Patterson Medical so they can keep on killing babies. Why didn’t you ever tell me this? We could have been working on this a long time ago. Your parents did the wrong thing when you told them. You’re not gonna fix that by defending abortion clinics. I’ve gotta go think about this. Then I’ll be back.
Karen: So now what am I supposed to do? Just quit?
Austin Kearney: Yes.
announcer: Welcome to the National Moot Court Championship.
a montage of various Moot Court Team members: …you’ve been presented with compelling evidence showing you that the fetus isn’t viable…/…this court has affirmed that the 2nd Amendment grants the right of self-defense…/…Your Honor, the 14th Amendment guarantees life and liberty…/…out of proportion, and has become a huge political fiasco…/…we believe our position is well supported by precedent…/…this leads into their application of Wyoming…/…The accusation that our arguments have been rooted in religious fundamentalism…/…over 43 million abortions have been performed in…/…we must weigh the burden placed on the individual with the legitimate interest of the government in mind…
Austin Kearney: May it please the court, my name is Caleb Hogan.
Karen Jezek: …please the court, I am Judith Hogan and I represent the respondent Patterson Medical Services. The State Supreme Court held that the pregnant girl did not have to notify her parents, and rightly so because this court held in Roe v. Wade that she has a fundamental right which the state cannot burden with such a requirement.
Austin: The burden on the pregnant girl is so light, and the parental interest is so compelling, all we’re asking the court to do is to simply allow the state to require her to notify her parents.
Moot Court Judge: You’re asking us to weigh the young lady’s right to an abortion against her parents’ right to know about it?
Austin: Yeah, well, yeah in a sense.
Moot Court Judge: You’re conceding that Roe v. Wade is good law. The young lady’s right to an abortion was absolute because the fetus wasn’t viable.
Austin: Your Honor, not only was he viable, but was in fact alive. And you can’t just kill a baby.
Moot Court Judge: A senior biologist with thirty years of experience testified that the fetus wasn’t viable.
Austin: He said nothing about the viability of the fetus in the womb. That is the issue. They tear the baby out of his only means of life support, and say “Wow, look at that, our machines can’t sustain its life.” And somehow, that proves its not viable? You know, your Honor, that their own reasoning assumes that the child is alive in the mother. The very question of viability assumes that he’s alive. Now can we keep him alive?
Karen: The fetus is not alive, accordng to biology and ethics.
Supreme Court Justice: The question of when life begins is not a legal question. It’s not even a scientific question.
Karen: Surely biology can answer that. Otherwise, what’s it good for?
Austin: Biology tells us what things do. It doesn’t tell us what things are.
Karen: A biologist certainly can testify whether the fetus is a human life.
Austin: It’s not a biological question. He’s no more of an expert on the question of when life begins than I am.
Moot Court Judge: Okay, that’s the science issue, but what about the legal? Why isn’t that a matter for the courts?
Austin: Federal judges can never resolve this. All they can do is decide based on their own moral preferences. And that is no legal standard. That’s fiat. It’s raw power.
Karen: It is determined by legal standards that balance the rights of the pregnant girl against the rights of her parents to know if she wants an abortion. That is a legal question.
Austin: It avoids the real issue. Is that thing inside the woman’s body alive, and if it is, we cannot simply go in there and kill it.
Karen: In this case, the State passed a law defining viability, and the rights of the parents and the rights of the child seeking an abortion.
Austin: So which laws will govern? The ones made by the people? Or the ones made by the judges?
Karen: When the people of a state pass a law by the political process defining life and its value, then jusges must interpret that law.
Austin: Interpret that law, sure, but replace the people’s definition of life with his own, that’s quite different. The courts never should have gone this route, and now that they have, they need to recognize it as a terrible mistake.
Moot Court Judge: Overturn Roe v. Wade, and just let the states deal with it themselves?
Austin: The grounds for overruling Roe v. Wade are found in Roe itself. In the majority opinion you joined, your Honor.
Supreme Court Justice: Roe quoted extensively from an American Medical Association report. “The third reason of the frightful extent of this crime” they’re speaking of abortion, council, “is found in the grave defects of our laws…”
Austin: “…both common and statute, as regards the independent and actual existence of the child before birth, as a living being.”
Karen: It’s not a baby your honor, it is a fetus.
Austin: Look at the date.
Karen: Your Honor, I’m not sure how this relates to the scientific proof of the young lady in this case.
Supreme Court Justice: That report was issued in 1859.
Another Supreme Court Justice: The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. The scientific consensus at that time…
Austin: …was that an unborn child was a person, and killing him was a crime. His protection is already enshrined in the 14th Amendment. If you change that, you need to add another amendment. Judges were never meant to have this kind of policy making authority.
Karen: The federal courts were deliberately insulated from political influence so they wouldn’t fear political repercussions. The opposition forgets this.
Austin: Respectfully, your Honor, but it is the courts that have forgotten their function, which is to decide law, and not to make policy. And I must say it is a threat to our democracy, it is a threat to our freedoms, and it is a threat to the stability of our nation when judges make decisions without any fear of the people. The Declaration of Independence, recognized at least forty times as a legally binding document by this court, tells us that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these… is life.
Victoria Emmons: You were wonderful.
Austin Kearney narration: My father was right. If you don’t believe your wife is precious, you won’t cherish her. If you don’t believe love is best when it’s pure and new, you won’t wait patiently for it. If you don’t believe the baby in the womb is the living handiwork of God, you’ll do nothing to protect him. What do you believe?
part of an interview with actress Victoria Emmons from the Pajama School Blog:
Pajama School: What similarities are there between you and your character, Rachel, in Come What May? What differences?
Victoria: At first, when I read the script I said to myself, “Rachel is a perfect person, I can’t play her. I don’t know how to give her life.” But as I studied her and learned her habits and interests, I realized how similar we really were. So then I could basically just act myself, with a little more seriousness. Rachel and I are pretty similar and that shows you what a good casting director they had. Both of us are very passionate about the unborn. We both like apple pie. We both are really bad at throwing paper balls at people. 🙂 We both love speaking in front of crowds. We both love music.
Pajama School: Tell us a little bit about “The Emmons Sisters.”
Victoria: My three sisters and I have a bluegrass gospel band called The Emmons Sisters. We’ve been performing together for almost 7 years and we have 4 CDs out and one on the way. We’ve been so blessed to be able to share our music through performances up and down the west coast. There is nothing quite like sharing a stage with your sisters. It’s been such a good thing for us. You can learn more about our band on our website: http://www.theemmonssisters.com.
A pro-life movie largely produced by over 40 homeschooled students will release nationwide on DVD next month after receiving critical acclaim from Christians and conservatives over the past several months. Produced with local cast and crew members, as well as approximately 40 homeschooled students from across the country, “Come What May” is the maiden project of Advent Film Group (AFG), a faith-based film production and distribution corporation founded by filmmaker George Escobar. The movie follows the story of Caleb Hogan, a recent transfer to Patrick Henry College who must decide whether to vigorously defend an abortion parental rights case from a distinctly Christian perspective or do what might win the National Moot Court Championship. PHC founder and chancellor Dr. Michael Farris, who wrote the film’s legal framework, is a constitutional attorney who has successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. And the core team of homeschoolers who worked on the movie tapped into speech and debate clubs for homeschoolers, in particular the NCFCA league. “That’s our ‘secret sauce,'” Escobar said. “The NCFCA is the third-largest speech and debate league in the country, created exclusively by and for high school home schoolers. Graduates from NCFCA dominate college debate tournaments.” Like Sherwood Pictures, producers of “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants,” AFG produces with extensive volunteer help, donated locations, learn-as-you-go filmmaking, and considerable “prayer coverage.” Since it first started producing films, Sherwood Pictures has gone from producing films on a $20,000 budget to a $500,000 budget and recently raked in over $33 million from their last film, “Fireproof.”
part of a review from “Adam’s Blog”:
I have to say that Caleb comes from a beautifully geeky family, which argues modern political issues by writing Latin phrases on a chalk board. And Caleb chooses to go to Patrick Henry College because of it’s very successful National Moot Court team. Caleb is a true brain jock.
Caleb meets Rachel, a talented veteran of the competition. Their challenge for Moot Court was to argue a Parental Notification case before the Supreme Court. Michael Farris, the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College, playing himself urges the duo to go for the jugular, and challenge Roe v. Wade itself, while Caleb wants to make a lame argument based on parental rights, which he figures has a better chance of winning.
Complicating Caleb’s life are his growing feelings for Rachel, who is staunchly pro-life and all on board with the go for the jugular approach advocated by Farris, and the fact that his mother, a high-powered DC Attorney is arguing the opposition position in the real case moving towards the Supreme Court. Oh, and if Caleb doesn’t win the Championship, he’s not going to be back next year.
There’s a lot to be said about the films flaws, particularly if you demand every film entertain you like it’s a cartoon or action movie. However, the film was a student production done on a budget with a little help from some entertainment industry veterans, so it’s really not fair to even make the comparison. The fair way to judge the film is whether it accomplished what it set out to do.
Given the heady world of academic exercises it inhabits, it tells a compelling story of a family dealing with fundamental big issues. It packs a powerful moral lesson about the importance of doing the right thing. Both Caleb and his father, a University Biology professor who has written a book that could cost him his job. Father and son both wrestle with their consciences on screen. Meanwhile, Rachel is very careful about purity before marriage and earns Caleb’s respect for her beliefs.
One has to say the film is a tour de force for Patrick Henry College. Yes, there may be folks who give it ** and slam it on IMDB, but I doubt sending their kids to Patrick Henry College was something your average negative reviewer would ever consider. Patrick Henry College is portrayed as a school that believes in following Christian precepts, and encouraging young people to act with boldness and courage to transform their world. I’d have loved to have gone to Patrick Henry, but life didn’t work out that way, and when I have kids, I’d love for them to go.
All those Moot Court Championships are reasons why liberals would be well-advised to quake in their boots. The students at Patrick Henry are learning to argue well, at the highest levels of the legal system, and PHC is turning out a great number of Christian lawyers who are ready to win.
The moot court scenes were incredibly well done, and you got a real picture of the competition and its excitement.
Criticisms of the film? There was a lot of underacting going on as well as some very stiff delivery in some places. Also, the movie took a pro-courtship stance but I think failed to explain their beliefs adequately, particularly as it relates to the role of the a Father in most courting relationships. The whole “Courtship” model is so counter-cultural, that it’ll seem weird, even to many Christians. And to others the idea of waiting for Dad’s approval before beginning on the road to marriage seems so old-fashioned, it does deserve some explanation. Also, there were a few places where the sound was weak.
Still, the overarching message makes it a great film for committed high school and college age Christians, in particular.
from a press release at WDC MEDIA NEWS:
Multi-talented filmmakers from Advent Film Group (AFG) and The Emmons Sisters joined forces to release a new CD of original songs especially recorded for “Come What May,” the first movie from AFG. The group, The Ivy Street Band, spent nineteen days of intense song writing, rehearsing, and recording to complete their inaugural album.
“It was amazing for all of us to hole up at our house and play music for as much as sixteen hours a day. We’ve now all officially bonded,” exclaims Christina Emmons (lead vocals and guitar). Christina previously served as makeup assistant and slate for AFG.
The band includes Austin Kearney (guitar-percussion) and Victoria Emmons (Mandolin-Banjo-Vocals), the lead actors for “Come What May,” now in post- production. They were joined by AFG sound mixer, Jeremy Clayton (Piano-Lead Vocals-Harmonica), Stephanie Emmons (violin-vocals), and Natalie Emmons (bass-vocals).
CD samples and sales are available from the website: http://www.ivystreetband.com.
Ex-Discovery executive and AFI producing fellow, George Escobar launched AFG to train students who will one day direct big-budget films with moral integrity.
“What I didn’t expect was to launch a singing group,” Escobar quipped. “These students are incredibly talented. They are equally at ease in a soundstage or a recording studio. More importantly they are committed to changing culture for Christ.”
The Emmons Sisters have performed at hundreds of venues since their first appearance at the 2002 Grants Pass Concerts in the Park. The sisters write their own bluegrass gospel music and have had their original songs in over 90 episodes of television shows on four different networks shown worldwide.
Austin Kearney, playing lead in his first movie role and recording his first album, is a nationally ranked NCFCA debater. Jeremy Clayton, after attending the Bob Jones University film program is in pre- production for his own film, following his first feature length production training with AFG.
Advent’s goal of rebuilding culture for Christ using an army of homeschoolers has begun in earnest. AFG is bringing Cinema Workshops at various homeschool state conferences in 2008. AFG is offering top treatment authors competing at the 2007 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) the opportunity to have their treatment developed into an AFG feature film production in 2008.