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IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law / Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize

2015 Palmer Prize winners

The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones—Confronting a New Age of Threat (Basic Books 2015), by Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution and Professor Gabriella Blum of Harvard Law School, has won the 2015 Palmer Prize.

In the book, the authors explore how advances in technology give ordinary citizens and terrorists alike the tools to carry out devastating attacks—such as spreading deadly biological agents with a drone intended for hobbyists or launching cyberattacks from a laptop—and proposes solutions for how governments can respond.

Mr. Wittes and Professor Blum will present their work at Chicago-Kent in fall 2016. Read more...

About the Palmer Prize

The IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize was established in spring 2007 by alumnus Roy C. Palmer '62 and his wife, Susan M. Palmer, to honor a work of scholarship exploring the tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary American society.

The $10,000 prize is designed to encourage and reward public debate among scholars on current issues affecting the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of governments throughout the world. (View announcement of 2015 prize winners.)

Roy Palmer, a lawyer and real estate developer, is a 1962 honors graduate of Chicago-Kent and a member of its board of overseers. He and his wife, Susan, active in numerous civic, social and philanthropic organizations, are the recipients of the 1997 Outstanding Individual Philanthropist Award of the National Society of Fundraising Executives.

In 2006, the Palmers pledged a $1 million gift to Chicago-Kent earmarked to support the expansion of the law school's campus, located in a rapidly developing area of downtown Chicago. The Palmers reside in Sarasota, Florida.

Past winners of the Palmer Prize


Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution (University of Chicago Press 2015), by University of Minnesota Law School professor Heidi Kitrosser
Lecture video


The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars (Oxford University Press 2012), by Vanderbilt University Law School professor Ganesh Sitaraman
Lecture video


Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy (Oxford University Press 2011), by Brooklyn Law School professor and national ACLU president Susan N. Herman
Lecture video


Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs (Yale University Press 2011), by George Washington University Law School professor Laura A. Dickinson


Laws, Outlaws, and Terrorists: Lessons from the War on Terrorism (The MIT Press 2010), by Harvard Law School professors Gabriella Blum and Philip B. Heymann
Lecture video (RealPlayer required)


Presidential Constitutionalism in Perilous Times (Harvard University Press 2009), by Professor Scott M. Matheson, Jr., of University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
Lecture video (RealPlayer required)


Bad Advice: Bush's Lawyers in the War on Terror (University Press of Kansas 2009), by University of Colorado Law School professor Harold H. Bruff
Lecture video (RealPlayer required)


Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror (The New Press 2007), by Georgetown University law professor David D. Cole and University of Pittsburgh School of Law professor Jules L. Lobel
Lecture video (RealPlayer required)