The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to make public the names of the three winners of the Diane and Stephen Uhl Essay Competition for Law School Students.
FFRF paid out a total of $9,000 to the winners of this year’s contest.
Law school students were asked to write on the topic: “Why religious exemptions from vaccine requirements are not legally required.” People who oppose Covid-19 vaccines for political or other reasons are using religious exemptions in order to flout vaccine mandates. Against this backdrop, lawsuits have surged, challenging vaccine requirements on religious grounds and arguing that religious exemptions to such requirements are required by the First Amendment. The essayists were told to craft an argument that religious exemptions from vaccine requirements are not legally required, addressing constitutional questions as well as other legal issues raised by such mandates.
Winners are listed below and include the law school they are attending and the award amount.
First Place: James B. Aird, University of Wisconsin Law School, $4,000.
Second Place: Jacob Stock, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, $3,000.
Third Place: Jacob H. Larson, University of Virginia Law School, $2,000.
Grading and selection of the winners was done by the FFRF Legal Team and the names of essayists were not revealed during grading to avoid unintentional bias.
FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994 and grad students since 2010. The law school contest began in 2019.