W&L Law’s Halley Townsend ’22L Wins Constance Baker Motley National Writing Competition Townsend won the competition for her paper "Second Middle Passage: How Anti-Abortion Laws Perpetuate Structures of Slavery and the Case for Reproductive Justice."
The American Constitution Society has selected W&L Law student Halley Townsend ’22L as the winner of the 2022 Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition.
Townsend was selected as this year’s winner based on her paper, “Second Middle Passage: How Anti-Abortion Laws Perpetuate Structures of Slavery and the Case for Reproductive Justice.” In the paper, she argues that Texas SB8, like its counterparts in the other former slaveholding states, perpetuates structures of slavery in the form of state control over the Black female body.
In addition to receiving a monetary award, Townsend will be invited to publish her paper in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. The paper competition garnered entries from law students across the country. Seven finalists were selected, from which a distinguished and diverse panel of judges chose one winner and two runners-up. Among the finalists were students from the law schools at the University of Chicago, Duke University, the University of Texas and Yale University.
The Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition is hosted by the American Constitution Society and the University of Pennsylvania Law School ACS Student Chapter in honor of Constance Baker Motley’s legacy. Constance Baker Motley served as the first female attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote the original complaint in Brown v. Board of Education, was the first Black woman to argue before the Supreme Court, and became the first Black woman to sit as a federal judge.
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