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East Central University senior Iva Asllani, a political science major from Tirana, Albania, won the award for Best Undergraduate Paper of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, it was announced recently at Cameron University in Lawton.

Asllani’s paper titled ‘The Use of Precedent in U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument’ was inspired by her viewing U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments as the personal guest of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last March.

Twelve Political Science and Legal Studies students visited the Supreme Court as a part of the D.C. Internship Experience organized by ECU Professor Dr. Christine Pappas.

“While sitting in the court room and listening to the Justices, it was surprising to realize that they talk more about hypothetical issues rather than citing past cases,” said Asllani.

After formulating the idea for the paper, Asllani spent hours analyzing the transcripts of other oral arguments to see if the pattern held. She concluded that over the last 10 years there has been a decline in the use of legal arguments.

“Winning was a privilege and a grand opportunity for me as an undergraduate student. I was honored to be awarded with the prize,” Asllani said.

Asllani is the third ECU political Science student to win the award in the last five years.

“I was so delighted to learn that Iva has won this award. Her hard work really paid off,” said Pappas. “Our program’s focus on undergraduate research allows graduates to elevate their skills and become very competitive in the job search and law school application process.”

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