June 6, 2019

American Constitution Society Announces 2019 National Convention Honorees

American Constitution Society Announces 2019 National Convention Honorees

Winners include Bryan Stevenson, the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Andrew Kent, Ethan J. Leib, Jed Shugerman, Amaha Kassa, Toby Merrill, Eric Lynch and Parnia Zahedi.

Washington, DC — The American Constitution Society is pleased to announce that Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will receive our Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 ACS National Convention this Friday, June 7. ACS is also pleased to award our 2019 Progressive Champion Award to the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project and the 2019 David Carliner Public Interest Award to Amaha Kassa, the Founder and Executive-Director of African Communities Together (ACT).

At the convention, ACS will also be presenting the Twelfth Annual Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law to Fordham University Law Professors Andrew Kent, Ethan J. Leib, and Jed Shugerman in the Lawyer Category and to Parnia Zahedi, (Georgetown University Law Center, ’20) in the Student Category.

And finally, the 2019 Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition will be awarded to Eric Lynch (William & Mary Law School, ’19).

ACS’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes those individuals who have devoted a substantial portion of their distinguished careers to ensuring that the law is a force to improve the lives of all people.

Professor Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and the Aronson Family Professor of Criminal Justice at New York University School of Law. He has devoted three decades to challenging the criminal justice system’s bias against people of color, the poor, the young, the mentally ill, and other marginalized populations. Learn more about Stevenson in this recent New York Times article

The ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project is receiving the ACS Progressive Champion Award because its work has exemplified the tremendous positive impact that lawyers can have on individual lives and on the public debate of a critical policy issue. The Project’s work has and will continue to inspire the next generation of lawyers to take up the cause of social justice and constitutional litigation on behalf of immigrants, who have long been central to the narrative of American history and identity, and who are today so in need of legal assistance.

For more than 25 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of almost every major legal struggle on behalf of immigrants’ rights, focusing on challenging laws that deny immigrants access to the courts, impose indefinite and mandatory detention, and discriminate on the basis of nationality. Specifically, the work of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project has exemplified the tremendous positive impact that lawyers can have on individual lives and on the public debate of a critical policy issue.

The annual David Carliner Public Interest Award honors a mid-career public interest attorney whose work best exemplifies David Carliner’s legacy of fearless, uncompromising, and creative advocacy on behalf of marginalized people.

ACT is a leader in the important fight for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a crucial humanitarian immigration program that has been targeted by the Trump Administration. Under Amaha Kassa’s leadership, ACT recruited and organized Sudanese TPS holder plaintiffs from around the country to join Ramos v. Nielsen, the lawsuit challenging the Administration’s improper termination of TPS.

ACS also congratulates the 2019 Carliner Award finalist, Toby Merrill, Founder and Director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending of Harvard Law School.

The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law is in honor of Judge Cudahy. His distinguished contributions to the fields of regulatory and administrative law combined a keen grasp of legal doctrine, deep insight into the institutional forces that determine how doctrine is implemented, and an appreciation of the public impact of doctrinal and institutional choices, including the consequences for fundamental values such as fairness, participation, and transparency. This competition seeks to encourage and reward these qualities in the scholarship of others.

This year, the award has been given to Andrew Kent, Ethan J. Leib and Jed Shugerman for their paper Faithful Execution and Article II (forthcoming Harvard Law Review June 2019) in the lawyer category, and to Parnia Zahedi for her paper From Czars to Commissars: Centralizing Policymaking Power in the White House in the student category.

The Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition is hosted by the American Constitution Society (ACS) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School ACS Chapter in honor of Constance Baker Motley’s legacy. As a civil rights attorney, she was the first woman elected President of the Borough of Manhattan, and the first African-American woman appointed to the federal bench and her life-long commitment to equality for all inspires attorneys across the country to this day.

This year’s award goes to Eric Lynch for his paper Going, Gutted, Gone?: Why Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is in Danger, and What States Can Do About It. Runners-up are Ata Akiner’s paper The President’s Power to Withdraw From International Agreements: The Role of Congress and the Courts and Hayden Johnson’s Vote Denial and Doubt: Strategic Section 2 Litigation and Constitutional Risk Management of the Results Test. Other finalists include Caron Byrd’s Term Limits and Minority Vote Dilution: The Effects of State Term Limits on Minorities in the Political Process, Christopher Lin’s Equality Shall Not be Denied: Preserving Abortion in Pennsylvania Under the ERA, Emily Migliore’s Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Statutory Amendment: A Call for Enhanced Due Process Protection in Pre-Bond Hearing Immigration Detention, and Danielle Stefanucci’s Shedding Tiers: A New Framework for Equal Protection Jurisprudence.

All awards will be made during ACS’ 2019 National Convention, the largest gathering of the progressive legal community in the country.

Founded in 2001, the American Constitution Society (ACS) is a leading progressive legal organization with a rapidly growing network of attorneys, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers, and other concerned individuals, dedicated to making the law a force to improve people’s lives. For more information about the organization and its 200+ attorney and law student chapters in 48 states, visit us at www.acslaw.org and 1899 L Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC, 20036.

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