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Wayne Law student wins national writing competition

May 13, 2014

Paul Stewart, a second-year student at Wayne State University Law School, has won the national 2013-14 Beveridge & Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition.

Stewart, an Ann Arbor resident, will receive a $2,000 award, a year’s membership to the nonpartisan Environmental Law Institute based in Washington, D.C., and publication of his winning entry in The Environmental Law Reporter, the institute’s flagship journal and a respected law review covering environmental and natural resource issues.

His winning entry, “The Overlooked Vulnerabilities of State-Level Greenhouse Gas Regulations Under Pike Balancing and Possibilities for Addressing Those Vulnerabilities,” assesses the viability of state regulations on greenhouse gas emissions in the face of legal challenges under the Dormant Commerce Clause, a legal doctrine that prohibits states from passing laws that negatively impact interstate commerce.

“Pike balancing” – named for a 1970 Supreme Court decision in Pike v. Bruce Church Inc. – refers to a court using “the Pike test” to evaluate if a state regulation places more negative impact on interstate commerce than the regulation offers benefit to the state.

“(Stewart’s) paper takes a fresh look at state energy regulations under the Pike test,” said Jay Austin, director of the institute’s Program on the Constitution, Courts and Legislation. “It presents a nuanced and thoughtful analysis of how states can defend their efforts to address climate change under the Dormant Commerce Clause.”

The writing competition is organized by ELI’s Program on the Constitution, Courts and Legislation and the National Association of Environmental Law Societies, judged by experienced attorneys and made possible through the support of environmental law firm Beveridge & Diamond P.C.

Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Michigan State University and has worked in Wayne Law’s Transnational Environmental Law Clinic on a variety of issues, including researching legal issues involved with the storage of petroleum coke in open mounds near the Detroit River and residential areas. He recently was elected editor-in-chief of the 2014-15 Wayne Law Review editorial board.

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