Vanderbilt Law School Student Wins Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition
May 2017

(Washington, DC): Benjamin Raker, a recent graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, has been named the winner of the Environmental Law Institute’s 2016–2017 Henry L. Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition. Mr. Raker will receive a $2,000 award, a one-year membership to ELI, and publication of his article in the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR®), ELI’s flagship journal and one of the most often-cited law journals covering environmental and natural resource issues.

ELI Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

With the generous support of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., ELI conducts an annual competition inviting law students from across the country to submit papers exploring current issues of constitutional environmental law. Our goal is to inform the ongoing debate about the constitutional legitimacy of environmental laws and to recognize students who have advanced the state of scholarship through original analysis of cutting-edge constitutional environmental law topics.

Challenges to Environmental Protection in the Courts

Although most major environmental laws have been on the books since the 1970s, these laws continue to be subject to constitutional or other legal challenges. Sometimes attacks on environmental laws are opportunistic, the result of a lawyer making the best available arguments on behalf of a client in a particular case. But these challenges are often strategic, pursued by ideologically motivated anti-regulatory activists or property-rights proponents.

2018-2019 ELI Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

The U.S. Constitution has long been interpreted by judges and understood by most Americans to support comprehensive environmental protection. However, arguments questioning the constitutional legitimacy or application of environmental law continue to be made, while other parties have brought constitutional and common-law claims in support of preserving or expanding environmental protections. ELI invites law students to submit papers exploring current issues of constitutional environmental law.

ELI Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition: Past Winning Essays



An American [State] in Paris: The Constitutionality of States' Commitments to the Paris Agreement
Kristin McCarthy
, William & Mary Law School

Honorable Mention:

The First Amendment Implications of a Mandatory Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Disclosure Regime
Rebecca Susko,
Fordham University School of Law