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2020 Law student essay contest

2020 Cornelius Vanderbroek Memorial
Essay Competition for Law Students

First Place — $4,000

Second Place — $3,000

Third Place — $2,000


“Are ‘No Aid’ Clauses Constitutional?”

Prompt: The Supreme Court will decide an important case involving the separation of state and church during the 2019-2020 term. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the court will address whether a decision by the Montana Supreme Court prohibiting state aid for tuition at religious schools based on the state constitution’s “No Aid” clause violates the Free Exercise Clause. Many other states have similar “No Aid” clauses that prohibit taxpayer money from going to religious schools.

Please write an essay exploring one legal argument defending the constitutionality of Montana’s “No Aid” provision, or rebutting one argument that the clause is unconstitutional. No need to recount the facts of the case.

Eligibility: Open to all ongoing law school students attending a North American law school. You remain eligible to enter this contest if you will graduate from law school by spring or summer of 2020. You are not eligible to enter if you will be starting law school for the first time in the fall of 2020.

Word limit: 1,500 words (not including footnotes).

Deadline: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, March 15, 2020. Application site contains other requirements and details. You will be notified by early summer if you win.

To apply: