Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
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Hastings Award

Mr. Nicholas Christiansen has won the Jon E. Hasting Memorial Award Writing Competition.  Information concerning the award and Mr. Christiansen's paper is set forth below.  Congratulations to Mr. Christiansen.  This is the second straight year that a University of Memphis law student has won the award.  Last year, Shannon Wiley won the award.  Thanks also to Professor Amy Moorman for her assistance in the role of faculty advisor.


"One of the primary purposes of the Environmental Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association is to improve environmental compliance in Tennessee. We accomplish this goal through a number of means including assisting our members to stay current on issues and promoting a dialogue on substantive environmental law topics. This competition [is] judged by a panel of environmental law practitioners, members of the judiciary, and/or professors selected by the Environmental Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association."


Areas of Law: Environmental Law, Administrative Law, & Constitutional Law

Title - Environmental Justice: Finding a Private Right of Action


The purpose of this Article is to analyze the environmental justice problem through a two-tier framework in an effort to cogently reach the conclusion that the sole avenue of relief must derive from amendments to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The first tier ("TIER 1") entails increasing awareness of the problem at the federal level. At the other end of the spectrum, the second tier ("TIER 2") involves establishing a private right of action to enforce the disparate impact standard of discrimination against governmental agencies that receive federal funds from the EPA. Regarding the TIER 1 problem, the Article examines the proposed Environmental Justice Act of 2008, which is directed at the development of a better federal cognizance towards the environmental justice problem by strengthening inter-executive branch collaboration and review of agency decision-making. While the Article applauds legislative efforts to solve the TIER 1 problem, the Article posits that improving the structural process within the federal government is only the first solution to a two-part problem. Ultimately, the TIER 2 problem securing immediate and appropriate declaratory or equitable relief under the disparate impact standard of discrimination is solved only by amendments to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 via the Environmental Justice Enforcement Act of 2008.

The Award Winning paper will be published in the May issue of the Environmental Law Section's Newsletter.

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Last Updated: 1/23/12