Two students named Justice John Paul Stevens Fellows

June 26, 2024 · By Nicole Jennings
Kent Anderson and Nikolis Moffett
Kent Anderson '26 and Nikolis Moffett '25

Two Seattle University School of Law students have been awarded 2024 Justice John Paul Stevens Fellowships for demonstrating a strong passion for public interest law and social justice, as well as high academic achievement.

Kent Anderson ’26 and Nikolis Moffett ’25 are part of a cohort of 157 Fellows, chosen from applicants representing 38 law schools across the nation. 

Created more than 25 years ago in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, the fellowship program provides grants to participating law schools to support students working in unpaid public interest summer internships at nonprofit organizations and government agencies. This is the law school’s third year of participation in the program.

Seattle University President Eduardo Peñalver, who is also a law school faculty member, and Seattle U Law William C. Oltman Professor of Teaching Excellence Andrew Siegel both clerked for Stevens from 2000 to 2001. 

"Justice Stevens was deeply committed to fairness and to public service. By creating a community of students who share these values, the Stevens Fellowship carries on his legacy in a deeply meaningful way," Peñalver said. "I am confident that Justice Stevens would have been inspired by Kent and Nikolis, this year’s Seattle University School of Law Stevens Fellows."

"Kent and Nikolis are wonderful representatives of our law school’s values and of Justice Stevens’ belief in the ability of public-spirited lawyers to make the world more just, more equal, and more humane," Siegel said.

Anderson’s summer will be busy at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington, helping represent indigent people charged with federal crimes, which he noted disproportionately impact people of color.

“As a legal professional, I am looking for opportunities to help reduce the harm caused by our carceral system,” Anderson said. “Behind every case is a person who needs justice, and the ramifications of their case ripple out to the people who love them and need them in their lives.”

He said he wants to ensure that those who cannot afford their own representation have access to justice, that their cases are well-researched and well-argued, and that every possible action is taken to help reduce the potential harm they stand to face from federal incarceration.

“Through the fellowship, I hope to enrich my understanding of what justice means for people in our community, learning from mentors through the Federal Public Defender's Office, the Stevens Foundation, and Seattle U Law,” Anderson said. “I am thrilled to join this network of service-oriented practitioners.”

Moffett, who is a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, is spending his summer working with the Seventh Infantry's Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County. In this role, Moffett assists in legal reviews of administrative matters and trial preparation for court martials.

"I knew from day one of law school I would one day be a judge advocate general officer in the Army. I am honored to serve soldiers' interests and experience public interest professions, which was made possible through the John Paul Stevens Foundation,” Moffett said. “This opportunity was critical to my education at Seattle U Law."

So far, a particular highlight for Moffett on the job was getting an aerial view of the Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier from a military helicopter.

"The team is so helpful and full of sage advice for practicing law in the Army,” he said. “Thanks to the JPS Foundation, I get to have a very exciting summer."

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