NCLA Student Note Competition

Now Accepting Submissions


The New Civil Liberties Alliance is seeking submissions for its first annual Student Note Competition. This year’s competition will focus on the powers available to the government in dealing with a public health crisis like COVID. Shouldn’t there be limits on the government’s ability to enforce vaccine mandates? Does Jacobson v. Massachusetts really grant unlimited authority here? Does it matter whether the mandates allow exceptions for those with natural immunity?

And what does Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization imply for other unenumerated rights like the right to refuse medical procedures? Do such rights go by the wayside because substantive due process is on the way out post-Dobbs, or are those rights deeply rooted in American history/tradition in a way that abortion rights were not before 1972 (and so they are safe)?

The theme will be read broadly, to cover many approaches, including:

  • nondelegation doctrine
  • major questions doctrine
  • substantive due process and the right to refuse medical procedures


Is There a Prize?

Yes! The winning submission will earn a $10,000 prize, which will be shared equally between the student who authored the note and the journal that selected it for publication. If NCLA receives a sufficient number of qualified entries, second and third-place prizes will also be awarded in the amount of $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, to be split equally between the author and the journal that selected the note for publication.


Who Is Eligible?

NCLA will accept only notes, comments, or articles written by a J.D. or LL.M. candidate at an accredited law school in the United States and selected for publication (but not yet published as of August 1, 2022) by a law review or similar journal at an accredited law school in the United States. Actual publication of the note, comment, or article will be a condition of receiving the prize funds.


What Is a Student Note?

Although the specifics vary from journal to journal, student notes are generally 15,000 words or fewer, and comprise original, in-depth analysis and commentary on a legal or policy issue. The competition is also open to comments or articles written by students and published in law journal, even if they are not technically a note (i.e., we are just using the word “note” as a catch-all term).


How Do I Enter?

The submission deadline is May 1, 2023. NCLA is accepting all notes/comments approved for publication by May 1, 2023.  The publication date must be fixed at the time publication is approved in order for the note/comment to qualify. It would be ideal if the publication date came before December 31, 2023, but as a former editors of a law journals, we know how circumstances often work to complicate publication dates.


To enter, simply fill out the form to the right and submit the necessary documents.


Click or drag a file to this area to upload.