Four Michigan Law students have won prizes for their outstanding scholarly research and writing.
Carter Brace, ’24, is the recipient of the Paul R. Dimond Prize. Established by Paul Dimond, ’69, in 2022, the prize recognizes the best scholarly work in civil rights, constitutional law, or judicial review. The winner receives a $5,000 stipend.
Seth Mayer, ’23, Anna Schuver, ’23, and Fran Marko Stojkovic, LLM ’23, won the Jon Henry Kouba Prize, which recognizes the best paper or papers written on European Union law or European integration—or on international peace and security among nations. Jon Henry Kouba, ’65, established the prize in 2003. It bestows a $1,000 stipend.
The 2023 winners are as follows:
Carter Brace, ’24
“Revisiting the ‘Tradition of Local Control’ in Public Education”
Brace’s work examines a concept, which shows up repeatedly in Supreme Court cases, that there is a tradition of local control in public education. Scholars have generally treated the tradition as doctrinally insignificant. However, Brace argues that the tradition of local control has played a bigger role in constitutional law than people have realized. He shows how the Court conceived of a tradition of local control based on constitutional guarantees of substantive due process, federalism, separation of powers, and voting rights.
In short, the way the Court thinks about public education has had major ramifications for the way it thinks about our constitutional order writ large.
“My interest in the topic started before I came to law school, when I was a public elementary school teacher,” said Brace. “Teaching made me think a lot more about the importance of equitable and integrated public schools. That general interest led me to Milliken v. Bradley, a case where the Supreme Court invalidated an extensive desegregation plan for Metro Detroit that would have crossed school district lines. A statement that the Court made in Milliken about the tradition of local control in education caught my eye, and my project developed as I researched the significance of that alleged tradition in Milliken and other cases.”
Seth Mayer, ’23
“Private Enforcement of Data Protection Rights under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Directive on Representative Actions: Examining the Unclear Role of Qualified Entities”
Mayer’s paper examines how European Union law protects personal data in the digital economy, through arguably the most comprehensive data protection regime in the world. He focuses specifically on how EU law enables private entities to enforce data protection rights.
The EU's General Data Protection Regulation provides a basis for private enforcement, but another EU law, the Directive on Representative Actions, also seems to allow private enforcement actions related to data protection. Mayer looks at two places where this overlap creates potential tensions and conflicts and then proceeds to resolve these tensions in a way that promotes private enforcement. This resolution aligns with these laws' goal of offering a high level of protection for consumer data.
Said Mayer, “I am interested in how civil enforcement of people's rights should work, particularly how enforcement rights are allocated between public and private entities. My interest in this area arose from an incredibly engaging 2L summer working at a plaintiff-side law firm, Edelson PC, after which I wrote a law review comment defending public entities' reliance on private law firms to bring certain lawsuits.
“Professor Daniel Halberstam allows students in his EU Law class to write papers on related topics of our choosing. I talked to him about my interests, and he pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and engage deeply with EU law doctrine. That led me to this topic and learning a lot about a very different system of private enforcement than the US version with which I am most familiar. I ended up getting fascinated by the knotty puzzles in this area of doctrine and am really grateful he encouraged me to challenge myself and write a paper that enriched my understanding of a core legal interest of mine.”
Anna Schuver, ’23
“Contextualizing ‘We Charge Genocide’ and the Shaping of International Law”
Schuver’s paper examines “We Charge Genocide,” a petition written by the Civil Rights Congress (a former US civil rights organization that existed from 1946 to 1956) and presented to the United Nations in 1951. The petition set forth a case for charging the United States under the UN Genocide Convention for state-sanctioned violence against Black Americans.
Specifically, her paper uses a contextualist historiographical methodology to explore how the definition of genocide evolved over time and how contemporary political events impeded the impact of “We Charge Genocide.” It further argues the atrocities documented in the petition should have constituted genocide under international law at the time the charges were raised.
“I wrote this paper for Professor Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg’s History of International Law class,” said Schuver. “I had never heard of ‘We Charge Genocide’ until he introduced the topic. I was curious to understand why I had never learned about this petition even though I have spent a considerable amount of time studying genocide, particularly in the context of the Holocaust. I chose to write about this topic to pursue that curiosity, and in doing so, I learned a lot about how international law is formed and for whose benefit.”
Fran Marko Stojkovic, LLM ’23
“The Untapped Potential of Human Dignity in the EU Legal Order—the Case Study of the Hungarian Anti-Pedophile Act”
Stojkovic’s paper discusses the largely unexplored role of the right and value of human dignity in the legal order of the European Union. He argues why and how the Court of Justice of the EU should rely on the legal concept of dignity to protect minority groups from the gross human rights violations conducted by the member states—even when such violations fall outside the scope of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the EU. Stojkovic builds his argument on the case study of the Hungarian “Anti-Pedophile” Bill, which severely and systematically restricts the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Said Stojkovic, “The idea to write this paper came to me while enrolled in Professor Christopher McCrudden's seminar on human dignity. There I became interested in considering the role that the legal concept of dignity could play in combating democratic backsliding in two EU member states, Poland and Hungary.”