Kyoung Williams, a 4th year student in Temple Law’s evening division, has claimed top prize in the Philadelphia Bar Association’s annual Ruth Bader Ginsburg Writing Competition. Williams is the 10th Temple Law student to win the competition since its inauguration in 2003.
Williams’ paper, Killing Her or Letting Her Die: The United States Supreme Court Makes the Constitution an Obstacle to Implementing the Due Diligence Standard in Lenahan v. the United States, centers on the first domestic violence case brought against the United States before an international tribunal. The case had been previously litigated in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Williams’ paper explores the tension between the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution and the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In Lenahan, Williams explains, the United States argues that it has no affirmative duty to exercise due diligence to prevent violence against women committed by a private party. But the Commission found in favor of Ms. Lenahan, concluding that the United States had failed to exercise due diligence to protect her and her three children. Williams’ paper examines the reasons for the divergent holdings and their implications for domestic violence survivors in the United States.
The opportunity to write at an intersection between domestic violence law and international law was intriguing to Williams, who served as a staff editor on the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal. She credits Professor Theresa Glennon, who served as her faculty advisor and mentor, with providing the encouragement and guidance to tackle not just the international and domestic violence dimensions of Lenahan, but the constitutional questions as well.
Williams’ paper has been printed in the Philadelphia Lawyer and can be read here.