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Warren Court Prize

The Warren Court Prize for Excellence is for student essays on ethics, justice, civil liberties, or constitutional law.


Fall 23 Warren Court Essay Prize Winners

  • First Place: Isabella Bishop, "Don't Fear, Life Grows On: The Bioethics of Human Composting"
  • Second Place: Lorraine Sandoval, "Erasure: Censorship in the Classroom"
  • Honorable Mention: Jenna Beament, "School-To-Prison Pipeline"


Criteria for Excellence

  • Quality of writing
  • Originality
  • Argumentative or reflective acumen
  • Creativity
  • Importance for and relevance to matters of constitutional law, justice, or ethics
  • Academic rigor

Earl Warren was the 14th chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Warren Court is known for its pivotal role in promoting liberty and justice in America, through such landmark cases as Brown v. Board of Education, Griswold v. Connecticut, and Miranda v. Arizona.  Sonoma State University’s Warren Court Prize is awarded annually to the student who best follows in the Warren Court’s tradition by producing an essay of excellent quality on matters of ethics, justice, civil liberties, or constitutional law.

Past Recipients

Spring 2022 

  • First Place: Madeline Lutman, “Bias in the Machine: How Technology Deepens Racial Inequality”
  • Second Place: “Racial/Ethnic Bias: The Whole Journey of Birthing While Black”
  • Honorable Mention: Karen Lopez-Echeverria, “My Mother’s Hands”

Spring 2021 

  • First Place: Kaylee DeLand.  
  • Second Place: Madelynn Cox
  • Honorable Mention: Loren Smith

Fall 2019 

  • First Place: Donielle Stanwood 
  • Second Place: Benjamin Spencer

Fall 2018 

  • Second Place Co-Winner: Brandon Beller
  • Second Place Co-Winner: Emily Hinton

Fall 2017 

  • First Place Co-Winner: Kayla Brown
  • First Place Co-Winner: Elizabeth Cardenas

Fall 2016 

  • First Place: Jennifer Davis, “Education in Paternalism”
  • Second Place: Jefferey Peck, “A Re-Evaluation of the Drowning Child”
  • Honorable Mention: Kayla Brown, “To What Extent May the Law be Paternalistic?”
  • Honorable Mention: Angelene Drummond, “Utilitarianism: An Almost Applicable System”

Fall 2015 

  • First Place: Emily Hinton, "Putting an End to Income Inequality"
  • Second Place: Patricia Tresie Matthies, "Textual Justice"
  • Honorable Mention: Caitlin McDonough, "Aspirationalism: A Theory of Constitutional Interpretation"
  • Honorable Mention: D'Marco J. Anthony, "Circumcision"

Fall 2014 

  • First Place co-winner: Katherine Merrell, “Moral Responsibility and Implicit Bias”
  • First Place co-winner: Monique Santana, “The Best Theory of Constitutional Interpretation: Aspirationalism”
  • Honorable Mention: Holli Brown, “Theory of Constitutional Interpretation”
  • Honorable Mention: Lauren Funaro, “To Die with Dignity”

Spring 2014 

  • First place: Ricky Frankel, Political Science
  • Second place: Dan Lyman, Philosophy
  • Honorable Mention: Adam Brashears, English
  • Honorable Mention: Katherine Merrell, Philosophy