2018 Scholarly Papers Competition Winners

AALS Announces 2018 Scholarly Papers Competition Winners

AALS proudly announces the winners of the 2018 AALS Scholarly Papers Competition for law school faculty members in the field for five years or fewer.
The competition’s selection committee recognized the following outstanding papers:



Aaron Tang, Acting Professor of Law, University of California, Davis School of Law, “Rethinking Political Power in Judicial Review.”


Honorable Mentions


William Ortman, Assistant Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School, and Daniel Epps, Associate Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, “The Lottery Docket.”


Andrew Verstein, Associate Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law, “The Jurisprudence of Mixed Motives.”

In the winning article, Professor Tang acknowledges the dimming prospects of the often-discussed model of judicial review under which courts would intervene more aggressively to strike down laws that burden politically powerless groups. He argues that courts should nonetheless be attentive to cases on the other side of the spectrum, where democratically enacted laws burden politically powerful groups. In those cases—which include challenges brought by corporations to economic regulations under the First Amendment, as well as challenges to gun control laws under the Second Amendment—the fact that the burdened groups enjoy great political influence should caution judges to apply greater deference to legislative judgments. The draft article is available on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and will be published in California Law Review in late 2018.
“I am grateful to receive this honor and humbled to join the ranks of the many accomplished scholars who have had their works recognized by the committee in previous years,” Professor Tang said. “I have always read the papers chosen by the committee with great admiration, and I hope that someday, like those previous selections, my work can make a meaningful contribution to the field of legal scholarship.”
In the first of two honorable mention selections, “The Lottery Docket,” professors Ortman and Epps propose the creation of a supplemental docket for the U.S. Supreme Court, comprised of cases selected at random from the final judgments of circuit courts. The authors argue that decisions made on these cases not selected directly by the court will lead to improvements in the U.S. legal system. The draft article is available on SSRN and will be published in Michigan Law Review.
The second honorable mention selection, “The Jurisprudence of Mixed Motives,” looks at how various areas of the law analyze the complex issue of motive and determines the four most common motive standards. Professor Verstein provides an in-depth examination of motivations in the law, from Equal Protection and employment discrimination to insider trading and income taxation. The draft article is available on SSRN and will be published in Yale Law Review.
The AALS Committee to Review Scholarly Papers for the 2018 Annual Meeting included distinguished legal scholars from around the country:

The award will be presented during the 112th AALS Annual Meeting, January 3-6, 2018 in San Diego.
Scholarly Papers Presentation at the 2017 AALS Annual MeetingScholarly Papers Presentation at the 2017 AALS Annual Meeting