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William & Mary Law School Student Wins Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

May 2018

(Washington, D.C.): Kristin McCarthy, a second-year student at William & Mary Law School, has been named the winner of the Environmental Law Institute’s 2017–2018 Henry L. Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition. Ms. McCarthy will receive a $2000 award and publication of her article in the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR®), ELI’s flagship journal and one of the most often-cited law reviews covering environmental and natural resource issues.

Ms. McCarthy’s winning entry, An American [State] in Paris: The Constitutionality of States’ Commitments to the Paris Agreement, argues that the numerous state and local pledges to adhere to Paris climate goals do not run afoul of federal constitutional limits. “Her paper elegantly addresses several questions that arose following the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from Paris,” said Jay Austin, Senior Attorney at ELI and Editor-in-Chief of ELR.

Receiving honorable mention was Rebecca Susko, a recent graduate of Fordham University School of Law, for her entry The First Amendment Implications of a Mandatory Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Disclosure Regime. “Ms. Susko’s paper considers the free-speech rules governing any future federal regime that requires specific corporate disclosures,” Austin said. “She highlights conflicting decisions that will warrant further clarification by the courts.” Her paper also will be published in ELR.

Each year, this national competition invites law students to explore issues at the intersection of constitutional and environmental law. Entries received were judged by a panel of experienced attorneys. The competition was organized by ELI’s Program on the Constitution, Courts, and Legislation, and made possible through the generous support of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., one of the nation’s premier environmental law firms.