2024 High School Essay Contest

The Anne Arundel County Bar Foundation invites all high school students in Anne Arundel County to enter its annual high school essay contest. The contest is open to all public, private, and home-schooled high school students in grades 9-12. This year’s contest is focused on the current Supreme Court case regarding whether the enforcement of generally applicable laws regulating camping on public property constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.
Prizes:  1st place:  $500  2nd place:  $250  3rd place:  $100
The winners will be honored at a special ceremony at the Circuit Court.  All participants will receive a certificate.  College admissions offices look favorably upon applications of students who have received writing awards.
How to Enter:
Write an essay on this topic:  How should the U.S. Supreme Court should rule on this case and why?  Students should submit an essay of up to 1,200 words on the stated topic (see details below). Entries should be double-spaced, typewritten and printed. 
The essay must be accompanied by a cover sheet that includes the following information: the student’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address; school’s name (if applicable), address and phone number; and the name of the teacher sponsor (if applicable, or parent if home-schooled). All portions of the essay that are not expressly identified as quotations must be the original work product of the student submitting the essay.  Each contestant is required to include a statement of certification stating that their essay is their original work product, other than statements in quotations within quotation marks. 

Essays must be received by May 24, 2024 and e- mailed to:  info@aabar.org
Essay Topic

The case under consideration:
City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)
This case asks the Supreme Court to resolve a dispute between the City of Grants Pass, Oregon and a class of homeless residents.  The petitioner contends that its anti-camping ordinances do not violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Respondents argue that the city’s ordinances amount to criminalization of the status of homelessness, contravening the Eighth Amendment. This case could impact the balance of power between federal, state, and local government and may clarify the limits on criminalizing conduct like camping outside at night.
Questions?  Please contact us at 410-222-6860 or info@aabar.org.