| Read Time: 3 minutes | Scholarship

Announcing the 2020 Legal Scholarship Winner

We’d like to say thank you to all those who took the time to submit applications for our legal scholarship. After carefully reviewing all of them, we are pleased to announce the winner of our 2020 scholarship. Glenn Korman Congratulations! Glenn graduated from Boston University, Summa Cum Laude, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Political Science. He’s now attending New York University School of Law with an interest in environmental and energy law. Glenn tells more of his story in his scholarship essay, which he has agreed to have published below. We invite you to read it. “On paper, I am a suburban guy from the Northeast, but this role is too confining for me. As a kid, weekends were spent listening to my grandmother tell tales of 1950s Toronto. Summers were spent in the cornfields of Iowa with my extended family. For college, I moved to Boston to experience a city rich with history. Since then, I have added Stevensville, Michigan and Dresden, Germany to the list of places I have called home.   Growing up in Buffalo, I witnessed an uneven economic revival that benefited only those that fit a certain mold. My time in the Midwest drove home the importance of crossing the political aisle. In Dresden, I was in the epicenter of the social friction that has been rocking Germany. Empathetic conversations with students from Syria opened my eyes to the heavy emotional toll that being stripped to the identity of “refugee” can have on someone. My experience at Boston University reinforced the value of intellectual diversity, and due to my interdisciplinary education, my fear that specializing in one area comes at the cost of ignorance of other fields was never realized.   The widespread geographical distribution of each place I have called home has given me a myriad of diverse perspectives that I can draw upon when confronting political, economic, and social issues in my chosen area: environmental and energy law. Each of these distinctive communities has highlighted the importance of engaging with the local population to fully understand the unique complexities of their situation and their willingness to accept change. My exposure to a variety of environmental problems in these areas, such as fluctuating lake levels and flooding in the Great Lakes Basin, solidified my interest in environmental and energy law. Issues stemming from climate change, pollution, and environmental degradation often disproportionally impact lower-income and minority segments of our population. It is next to impossible to address the legal and policy questions that arise out of humanity’s use, and oftentimes abuse, of the environment without maintaining a strong sense of empathy for at-risk individuals, endangered species, and those that rely on the industry whose practices are being scrutinized.   Specifically, I envision myself working to improve the state of energy governance in the United States. We lack a coordinated and comprehensive framework that reduces the overall environmental impact of these systems. Currently, environmental consequences are primarily considered during the siting process of new energy projects, forcing local and regional ecosystems to adapt after a cost-benefit analysis on the project’s potential impact is performed. Rather than working aggressively to minimize the environmental disruptiveness of these technologies from their inception, we address the majority of these issues at a stage where few substantive adaptations can be performed. While functional, this cost-benefit approach reduces the value of the environment by not properly considering monetary damages likely to result, such as a reduction in tourism or property values due to an increase in pollution, as well as benefits that are nearly impossible to monetize like personal enjoyment resulting from the use of pristine natural spaces. Furthermore, by using a discount factor that limits the future outlook on how harmful our current actions are, these analyses prevent us from doing justice for future generations. Advocating for and eventually shaping an updated legal framework regulating and incentivizing more environmentally friendly developments in this area is how I intend to use my Juris Doctor. Although a cost-benefit analysis will still have a place within this framework, considering the more abstract value of the environment must be incorporated as well. For this reason, I feel compelled to pursue a legal career where I can meaningfully impact this field while also practicing in a manner that emphasizes empathy and humanity.” – by Glenn Korman

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 4 minutes | Scholarship

Announcing the 2019 Legal Scholarship Winner

We received exactly 100 applications for this year’s scholarship! After carefully reviewing all of them, we are pleased to announce the winner of our 2019 scholarship. Brandon Osowski! Congratulations Brandon! Brandon recently graduated from Florida State University this past spring and has been accepted to the University of Virginia School of Law, which he’ll be attending this fall. Brandon interned with Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta of the 13th Juicial Circuit of FL, and this experience instilled a desire within him to legal education in order to help protect vulnerable citizens from entering the court system. Brandon tells more of his story in his scholarship essay, which he has agreed to have published below. We invite you to read it. Introduction: Before I even graduated high school, I had developed a desire to be a lawyer. If you asked me what sparked this interest, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. As I continued my academic career with this unfounded desire, I was able to earn experience in the legal field. The most influential experience occurred during my internship with Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta of the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida. During my time with Judge Ficarrotta I noticed a disproportionately high number of offenders being from poor backgrounds. This disappointed me and inspired me to utilize my legal education to help keep this population from entering this cyclical system. Having the opportunity to receive this scholarship would be used to take some of the enormous financial burden law school poses for me; allowing me to pursue my passion of protecting vulnerable citizens from entering the court system. Aside from these goals, in my free time I am an avid golfer. Golf serves as an outlet for me, an escape from the stresses of the real-world. It challenges me and teaches me lessons that help me progress as a student and a professional. Why we should be allowed to warn of DUI checkpoints: The legality of DUI checkpoints has been tested many times in the past. The argument that a DUI checkpoint violates the fourth amendment was shut down in the Supreme court case Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz. The court ruled 6-3 that these checkpoints were constitutional and that they only caused a minor inconvenience to motorists, not violating their 4th amendment right. With the legality of these checkpoints being settled, the right to freely talk about them is now being questioned. Even though DUI checkpoints are legal, the existence of these should not restrict the first amendment right of free speech. Any person can let a fellow motorist know “be careful, there may be a DUI checkpoint tonight”, just like a mother can tell their 16-year-old kid driving on the 4th of July, “be careful, there will be many cops out tonight.” Just like it is legal to let someone know to be careful because of the possibility of something occurring, it should be legal to be more specific, saying “be careful, I heard there will be a DUI checkpoint on the corner of Tampa and Racetrack road.” On the surface, this seems like it would inhibit the police from doing their job. Regardless of if this is the case, the existence of these checkpoints cannot, and should not legally restrict one from talking to another person about a given checkpoint at any given place or time. The justification for this argument is clear when we look at a very similar police operation, speed traps. Speed traps are an operation where many officers are directed to work at a certain location and pull people over for speeding. During these traps, many motorists will flash their headlights to let oncoming traffic know of the speed trap. Similar to letting motorists know of a DUI checkpoint, flashing headlights can be seen as “inhibiting the police from doing their job.” Recently, a federal judge in Missouri, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey, ruled on the headlight flashing issue. Judge Autrey stated that it is protected under the first amendment that motorists are allowed to flash headlights to let other motorists know of a speed trap. Because of the parallels between DUI checkpoints and speed traps, Judge Autrey’s reasoning can be extended to DUI checkpoints; protecting citizens from letting other motorists know of DUI checkpoints. Some may argue that this justification from Judge Autrey does not apply because a speed trap and a DUI checkpoint differ in the fact that a DUI checkpoint is aimed at catching people driving under the influence, a state that cannot be changed from last-minute knowledge of a DUI checkpoint. With this argument, many claim that knowledge of a DUI checkpoint incentivizes drunk drivers to avoid a given area, putting other drivers in danger. Even though these points are valid, arguments can be made that knowledge of a DUI checkpoint incentivizes drivers to not drive under the influence and to operate their vehicles more safely. From the arguments presented above, it is clear that it is 100% legal to let motorists know of a DUI checkpoint. Even though it is legal to do this, it is tougher to determine whether this should be allowed. Both sides make valid and convincing arguments. Since there is a level of uncertainty to this question, it is important that the 1st amendment right to free speech is protected. Therefore, letting motorists know of a DUI checkpoint is not only legal, but it should be allowed. Works Cited Headlight flashing OK, Missouri judge says. (2014, February 06). Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/06/police-speeding-headlightsaclu/5253337/ Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz (1990).

Continue Reading