The Federalist Society honored Northwestern Law professor Eugene Kontorovich with the 2012 Paul M. Bator Award at the society's annual student symposium on March 3. The award recognizes a young academic (under the age of 40) who has demonstrated excellence in legal scholarship, a commitment to teaching, a concern for students, and who has made a significant public impact.
Denny Ng, a University of Chicago Law School student who served on the selection committee, presented the award to Kontorovich on behalf of the Federalist Society. Ng emphasized that Kontorovich "has a passion not just for rigorous scholarship, but for crafting rigorous scholars" and that he "imbues that craft with a positive zeal."
"Current and former students describe him as engaging, brilliant, always accessible, shockingly honest, and the best teacher they've ever had,” said Ng.
Kontorovich has taught at Northwestern Law since 2007 and is one of the leading experts on maritime piracy, universal jurisdiction, and international criminal law. He has been called on to advise lawyers in historic piracy trials around the world. His scholarship has been relied upon in numerous federal judicial opinions and his research spans the fields of constitutional law, international law, and law and economics.
He is currently a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he is writing a book, Justice at Sea: What Piracy Teaches About the State of International Law, under contract with Harvard University Press.
The Paul M. Bator award was established in 1989 in memory of Professor Paul M. Bator, a renowned scholar of constitutional law and federal jurisdiction. Northwestern Law professor John McGinnis received the award in 1997.
Founded in 1982, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.