*CONTEST DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JUNE 15, 2022.*

Fifty years ago, on March 22, 1972, Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the states for ratification, but only 35 of the 38 required states voted to ratify by the deadline.

Is the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause sufficient to secure the rights of all citizens, or is the ERA necessary to promote gender equality?


Who May Enter

The essay contest is open to all students currently in grades 9 through 12 from Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Note: Prior award winners as well as children, grandchildren, stepchildren, and members of the household of a federal judge or federal judiciary employee are excluded from the competition.

Essay Prompt

Is the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause sufficient to secure the rights of all citizens, or is the ERA necessary to promote gender equality?

Length & Format

Essays are limited to 1,000 words (strictly enforced). Citations should be placed in footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies and excluded from the word count. Submit your essay as a Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF document. Do not include your name on your essay.

Submission Deadline

Your essay and entry form must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. The contest entry form has instructions for submitting your essay. Your essay should be completed and submitted with your entry form.

Judging

  • Understanding of constitutional principles (40 points)
  • Clarity and effectiveness in expressing the theme (35 points)
  • Grammar, spelling, and composition (25 points)

Exceeding the word limit, missing the submission deadline, plagiarizing content, providing false entry information, and not adhering to the rules are grounds for disqualification.

Awards

Winners will be announced in August, and the winning essays will be presented at the court's Essay Awards Program in September 2022.

* * * *

Download Contest Flyer

First Place

$2,000

Second Place

$1,500

Third Place

$1,000

Awards

Winners will be announced in August, and the winning essays will be presented at the court's Essay Awards Program in September 2022.

First Place

$2,000

Second Place

$1,500

Third Place

$1,000

Download Contest Flyer

Questions

Contact the Fourth Circuit Clerk's Office at essaycontest@ca4.uscourts.gov or (804) 916-2706.