Eighth Circuit Historical Society

The Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth Circuit


Court of Appeals Branch


John F. Dillon Essay Competition

           The John F. Dillon Essay Competition is sponsored by the John F. Dillon Inn of Court of Davenport, Iowa. From 1999 to 2003, the Court of Appeals branch co-sponsored the competition with the John F. Dillon Inn of Court. An annual award of $500.00 is presented to the University of Iowa law student who submits the finest paper dealing with legal history or jurisprudence.

           Judge Dillon had served as a distinguished member of the Iowa Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Judge Dillon left the bench to resume the practice of law and devote more time to scholarship in a wide variety of areas of the law. Judge Dillon was a renown expert in municipal law and served as president of the American Bar Association. At the time of his death, Judge Dillon was considered one of the greatest lawyers and scholars of his time.

           The award was originally created through a bequest made from the estate of the Honorable John F. Dillon at the time of his death in 1914. Judge Dillon established a writing competition at the University of Iowa to encourage research and scholarship in the fields of legal history and jurisprudence. The Court of Appeal Branch and the Dillon Inn of Court have resurrected this essay competition to encourage these same types of scholarly activities.

           These were the award recipients during the academic years the Appeals branch co-sponsored the writing competition.

  • 1999-2000 academic year: Kyle T. Murray, Looking for Lochner in All the Wrong Places: The Iowa Supreme Court and Substantive Due Process Review.

  • 2000-2001 academic year: Matthew D. Spohn, Understanding America’s Scenic Parks as Cultural Property.

  • 2001-2002 academic year: Evan Simone, Judicial Mindfulness.

  • 2002-2003 academic year: Aracely Munoz Contreras, The Maquiladora Murders: Eradicating Child Labor Beyond the Factory Walls.

               The members of the award committee included the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Professor Mark Killenbeck of the University of Arkansas Law School; and Thomas H. Boyd, of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.



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    Updated December 2, 2004
    ©2001 by the Historical Society of the U.S. Courts in the Eighth Circuit