May 10, 2023

American Constitution Society Announces Winners of 2023 Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition

Nancy Rodriguez,

Washington, DC -The American Constitution Society (ACS) is pleased to announce the lawyer and student winners of the 2023 Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law. 

This year's lawyer winners are Leah Litman, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, and Daniel Deacon, Lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School.

The student winner is Shunhe Wang, a student at Yale Law School. 

“I am honored to announce the winners of this year's Cudahy Writing Competition,” said ACS President Russ Feingold. “As the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, ACS is committed to fostering and promoting insightful legal scholarship. Administrative law shapes all of our lives, and courts are grappling with the issues raised in both winning papers that will decide important issues like the legality of student loan forgiveness, press freedom and more.”

The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law honors Judge Cudahy’s distinguished contributions to the fields of regulatory and administrative law. He 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. The award seeks to encourage and reward these qualities in the scholarship of others. 

Litman and Deacon are recognized for their article, The New Major Questions Doctrine, which critically analyzes significant recent developments in the major questions doctrine, a legal theory advanced by conservatives on the Court that could weaken how federal agencies are empowered to act. Their article highlights important shifts in what role the “majorness” of an agency policy plays in statutory interpretation, as well as changes in how the Court determines whether an agency policy is considered “major.” 

Wang’s winning paper, Check Your [Deliberative Process] Privilege—Revealing the Foibles of FOIA’s Framing via a Ride into the Sunset/Retention Mismatch, examines the intent and effects of the 2016 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Improvement Act, identifies a key practical limitation, and suggests potential reform to allow for the potential of a “powerful tool for citizens to shine light on their government’s internal deliberations and discussions” to be more fully realized.

Each of the winners will receive a cash prize of $1,500. They also will receive special recognition at the 2023 ACS National Convention, May 18-20. 



The American Constitution Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan legal organization. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, advocates, and many others, our mission is to support and advocate for laws and legal systems that strengthen our democratic legitimacy, uphold the rule of law, and redress the founding failures of our Constitution and enduring inequities in our laws in pursuit of realized equality. For more information, visit us at or on Twitter @acslaw.