MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Professor Alison Peck is the winner of this year’s Significant Scholarship Award at the West Virginia University College of Law.
Peck won for her recent book, "The Accidental History of the U.S. Immigration Courts: War, Fear, and the Roots of Dysfunction," published earlier this year by the University of California Press.
In her book, Peck uses unstudied legal decisions from the Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush administrations to outline humanitarian crises that led to the modern immigration court system. She also argues that the fundamental flaw of the immigration courts is that they are under the U.S. Department of Justice — and she proposes that the courts become independent.
WVU Law’s Significant Scholarship Award is presented annually by the faculty to a fellow professor whose written work addresses an important public issue while demonstrating thorough research and clear and concise writing.
“Committee members were thoroughly impressed by Professor Peck’s book, which was even-handed, beautifully written and ambitious in telling the 80-year history of the immigration courts and the challenges they present today,” said professor Valarie Blake, chair of the Significant Scholarship Committee. “Her work shone brightly in a highly competitive year where the number and richness of submissions reminded us of the immense scholarly talent within the WVU Law community.”
Peck is the director of the Immigration Law Clinic and director of International Programs at WVU Law. She teaches and writes in the area of global sustainable development, including trade, immigration, and environmental law. She won WVU Law’s Significant Scholarship Award in 2014 and 2019.
Before joining the WVU Law faculty in 2009, Peck practiced international arbitration and commercial litigation with Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Washington, D.C. She also clerked for Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge G. Federico Mancini of the Court of Justice for the European Communities.
Peck earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and an LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. She received her bachelor's degrees from Butler University.