Professor Susan Herman has been awarded the 2012 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for her book Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy. The $10,000 award honors a work of scholarship that explores the tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary U.S. society.
In Taking Liberties, Herman focuses on the human and social costs of America’s anti-terrorism strategies. She argues that the government's hastily adopted antiterrorist tactics may not be keeping us safe— and may be infringing on our civil liberties. The book focuses on a range of entities affected by the Patriot Act, including charities, libraries, and financial institutions, and also on surveillance systems that jeopardize privacy and individual rights.
“Constitutional rights like the First Amendment freedoms of speech, association, religion, and access to the courts, Fourth Amendment privacy rights, due process, and equal protection rights should not just be written off as regrettable casualties of a metaphorical War on Terror,” she says in her book. Instead, Herman argues, the courts and Congress should fully examine whether these laws and policies are constitutional and effective.
In 2011, the Law School hosted a discussion and book signing event to celebrate the book’s release and mark the anniversary of 9/11 entitled “Ten Years of 9/11.” The event used themes from Herman’s book as a platform for a discussion by faculty members of three areas affected by post-9/11 laws: Internet law, immigration law, and the free exercise of religion.
Herman serves as president of the American Civil Liberties Union, a position she has held since 2008, after having served on the ACLU National Board of Directors for 20 years, as a member of the Executive Committee for 16 years, and as General Counsel for ten years. She is a highly regarded authority in constitutional and criminal procedure topics and has written extensively on these topics for scholarly and other publications. She is often sought after as an expert in these areas and her opinions are regularly featured in leading media. She is also a frequent speaker at academic conferences, lecture series and legal education events and has been the keynote speaker on countless occasions.
Herman will be accepting her award and presenting her work at IIT Chicago-Kent in April.
Read more about Professor Herman’s award.