The Volokh Conspiracy

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Professor Jennifer Mascott, Winner of 2023 Joseph Story Award


Congratulations are in order for Professor Jennifer Mascott of George Mason, winner of the 2023 Joseph Story Award. This award recognizes a junior academic who has demonstrated excellence in legal scholarship, a commitment to teaching, a concern for students, and who has made a significant public impact in a manner that advances the rule of law in a free society. This award is richly deserved.

Matt Phillips, who chairs the Story Committee at the University of Chicago, provides some of the highlights of Jenn's career:

Mr. Phillips began by detailing Professor Mascott's scholarly contributions.  Referencing her article "Who Are Officers of the United States?," which he called "an originalist tour de force," Mr. Philips noted that Professor Mascott's "seminal work"situated her at the "forefront of the national debate" on the separation of powers. He said Prof. Mascott is an "intellectual trailblazer" and "stalwart defender of the rule of law." He also pointed out her extensive involvement in the legal profession, including her "incredible thought leadership" as the Co-Executive Director of the Gray Center, Public Member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, and Vice Chair of the Constitutional Law and Separation of Powers Committee within the ABA's Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, as well as her "tireless public service" at the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice.

Finally, Phillips described Professor Mascott's strength as a "dedicated teacher and mentor" to her students at Scalia Law. He identified her various roles on campus, including that of faculty director of the law school's Supreme Court and Administrative Law clinics, founder of the Separation of Powers Clinic, and co-professor with two Supreme Court Justices. In the words of her students, she is a "fantastic instructor" and "wonderful person" who "models a commitment to family and takes genuine joy in her profession."

This award came at a very difficult time for Jenn and her family.

Mr. Phillips closed with a moment of silence to honor the memory of Professor Mascott's late husband, Jeff Mascott, who passed away only a few days earlier, on February 28, after battling advanced pancreatic cancer.

In accepting the award, Prof. Mascott remarked that the award came at a tragic and difficult time for her and her family.  But she noted that the award also provided the opportunity to "reflect on deep-seated values of family, sacrifice, and faith that are important to this community and to the development and flourishing of personal excellence and character in the practice of law."

Prof. Mascott began by thanking and remembering her late husband Jeff, who through his dedication to family enabled her to "enjoy government service at the Department of Justice, to join many law school symposia, conferences, and Federalist Society chapter events around the country, and to take a lengthy period of time in our basement as a Georgetown Olin/Searle Fellow when I researched the original meaning of officers of the United States."  She also thanked her inlaws and her many mentors in the legal community who throughout the years "provided encouragement and a model of excellence for scholarship, service, and family oriented values along the way."

Jenn accepted the award with grace and strength that few of us could muster.

Read the rest of the release here, and the video of the ceremony begins at 1:15:00.

I was honored to sit at Jenn's table as she received this distinguished recognition. Welcome to the club!