Jodie Allison Smith ‘14 won second place in a student writing competition sponsored by the Lawyers Conference of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association.
Smith is now waiting out her Bar results as a Litigation Bridge Fellow in the civil litigation division of the California Attorney General's Office. She plans to enter public law litigation after being admitted to the Bar.
Her essay, titled “Long Term Thinking in the Judiciary: Might Judges Mitigate Political Paralysis?” addresses a nexus of issues and was initially an assignment for Professor David Jung's seminar on public policy. Harnessing her interest in the intersection of law and policy, she examines the judicial branch’s ability to bring long-term thinking into matters of public law, mitigating political paralysis on abiding issues like water security, nuclear proliferation, climate change and the mortgage crisis. She uses the microcosm of the Voting Rights Act case to illustrate how appointed federal judges might best employ the procedural tools they already possess.
“My work and this paper are fundamentally about getting the public sector to do the work of governing well,” Smith said. “Ideology aside, people need government to provide basic things--clean water, safe food, education, adjudication of disputes, exercise of the police power--reliably and well, and that's what I put my professional energy behind.”
The writing contest, which Smith learned about from Professor David Levine, was offered in connection with a symposium titled “Judicial Education and the Art of Judging: From Myth to Methodology.” Of her second place honor, Smith said “Having a national body recognize my writing validates the possibility that I might have something useful to add about the role of the judiciary in governance. It adds one more hatch mark under my internal category of ‘Going to Law School was a Good Idea.’”