Graton Constitutional Essay Contest—2013

Graton Constitutional Essay Contest—2013

Three prizes of $1,500, $1,000, and $700 have been authorized for the best essays on the constitutional subject listed below. The awards are made from the income from shares of stock held in trust by the University of Maine and established for this purposed by the late Claude Dewing Graton, Class of 1900.

The subject of the 2013 competition is:

Law enforcement authorities have found the use of “drug sniffing” dogs to be a useful investigative tool. Do the efforts of these dogs constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment? What has the Supreme Court’s approach to this question been? What should the Court’s approach be, in your opinion?


Any regularly enrolled undergraduate student may enter the contest. The essay responding to the question above must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Administrative Assistant, Department of Political Science, 229 North Stevens Hall, no later than Friday, April 19, 2013, by 3 p.m.

The essays must be between 2000 and 5000 words in length, and must be a polished work. Adherence to the Style Manual for Political Science, APA, or other standard style reference is highly encouraged. A complete bibliography must accompany the essay, and proper citation must be followed throughout. The title page should contain only the title of the essay and the date. A separate cover page should contain the title, date, and student’s name and mailing address. The committee does not return essays submitted; students are advised to make a copy of their work before submission. The committee reserves the right to make no awards in a given year.

Judging criteria include:

  • Attention to constitutional and legal issues
  • Political and historical significance
  • Completeness
  • Logic and clarity of presentation
  • Neatness and form
  • Use of proper style and references in a form generally recognized in the social sciences

Additionally, essays must carefully define the limits of the topic at the outset of the essay: a good introduction and thesis statement are highly encouraged. The reading committee reserves the right not to award any of the prize money if it determines that no essay meets its standards.

Questions about the contest may be directed to Timothy Cole, Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Science, phone 581-3844, and “Timothy Cole” on FirstClass.

Extra copies of this announcement are available in the office of the Administrative Assistant, Department of Political Science.