“In the constitution of any people whatsoever,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, “one reaches some point at which the lawgiver is bound to rely on the good sense and virtue of the citizens.” The law, after all, is a guidepost—a framework for legal action. But if the people don’t believe in the laws—if they don’t understand or care about the Constitution—then even the best designed system in the world won’t last long. The Constitution is not a system that runs on its own; it needs us to understand and cherish it.
That’s why PLF has, for decades, taken very seriously its role in helping to change the climate of ideas in the legal academy, and to educate the next generation of lawyers, judges, and law professors. One way we do that is through our Program for Judicial Awareness, which for almost 20 years, has produced cutting-edge legal scholarship that is helping make the case for freedom before lawsuits even reach the courtroom. PLF scholarship has been cited by federal and state courts across the country, helping shape the law of property rights, racial equality, economic liberty, and the procedural rules that sometimes limit people’s right to their day in court.
Perhaps even more important has been our law student writing competition. And we’re proud to announce the revival of PLF’s writing competition for law students this year, with $6,000 in total prizes for full- or part-time students. In addition to the grand prize, our top winner will be presented with an award at our annual PLF gala event. And competition winners will work with our staff to have their winning entries published in a law review.
In addition to helping to cover the ever-rising cost of law school education, our writing competition has often helped open doors for students who have reached high-level careers in public interest firms, government agencies, and private practice.
For more information, and the competition topics, check out our Writing Competition website.