March 27, 2019


For the second year, myself and fellow contest Judges, Lillian BeVier and Chris DeMuth have had the pleasure of reviewing submissions to the Federalist Society’s Article I Initiative Writing Contest. This season, Federalist Society sought submissions from across the country with the theme, “Ambition Counteracting Ambition: Enduring Principle or Failed Experiment?” After careful consideration and discussion, we selected Deion Kathawa’s excellent paper titled, “Ambition Can Still Be Made to Counteract Ambition—Just Not in the Way Madison Envisioned” as the first-place winner. Deion’s essay perceptively and methodically catalogs the historical and more recent causes of the breakdown of our constitutional system as our Founders imagined it. He includes instances where the Founder’s predictions of how their system would act as a check on itself and its component parts has failed.

Deion begins with the observation that Congress’ effectiveness, popularity, and power seem to be in inexorable decline over the last century. From there he builds an insightful outline of the social, legal, and cultural changes that have contributed to that branches’ current lethargy. Lastly, he lays out a vision for using the judicial branches’ self-interest to force Congress to reassert itself and maintain its constitutional duties.

Deion’s analysis and his central thesis are well crafted and worthy of serious consideration; we congratulate him. We also congratulate the other writing contest winners and look forward to a continued discussion within the Article I Initiative on how cognizance of the ambitions of individuals and organizations within government can be utilized to restore and maintain a working system.

Deion Kathawa is a student at Notre Dame Law School where he serves as the Membership Coordinator for our Chapter, and he is the Vice President of the Saint Thomas More Society. He received degrees in both political science and philosophy from University of Michigan. Currently, he is a Mt. Vernon Fellow at the Center for American Greatness.

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