Announcing the Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship

By Robert Chesney
Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 4:34 PM

I am very pleased to share this news: An annual prize for outstanding national security law scholarship has been established in the name of our colleague Mike Lewis, who passed away in 2015.

The Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship was made possible by the generosity and perseverance of many people and institutions, including Mike's former colleagues at Ohio Northern University's Pettit College of Law (especially Liam O'Melinn), the AALS Section on National Security Law, and—deserving very special mention here—Peter Margulies. The full details appear below. Here, I'll simply say thank you to the many colleagues who already have donated to the fund supporting the award, as well as asking that you please consider making a nomination (before the Sept. 30 deadline). Oh, one more thing: Please circulate this post to anyone you think may be interested!

Now, on to the details:

The Plan for the Prize

Based on the amount of funding we have assembled so far, this is our plan: Each year for the next 10 years, the Mike Lewis Prize—in the amount of $1,000—will be awarded to the author of an outstanding national security law article. If the underlying fund grows enough to enable a longer-term approach, so much the better.

About Mike

Mike was a unique and cherished contributor to our field. He was a former naval aviator who trained in the elite “Top Gun” program and served in the first Gulf War. As a law professor, he brought his experience with armed conflict to bear on his scholarship and teaching. Mike never lost sight of the polestars of international and constitutional law, even as he acknowledged the challenges of today’s armed conflicts with non-state actors such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. He was widely known and appreciated in our community, and is missed by all who knew him.

About the Nomination and Selection Processes

Only articles written by full-time faculty members of AALS-member schools are eligible for nomination. Anyone may nominate an article, though self-nominations are not permitted.

Nominated articles must be published in final form (whether in print or online) by Sept. 1 each year (articles published in October through December should be submitted for consideration in the following year’s cycle). Nominated articles will be judged on the quality of the research involved, the quality of the writing, the originality of the work and the significance of its contribution to the field. Diversity in nominees and perspectives is strongly encouraged, and we especially hope to see nominations of the work of new and emerging scholars.

The selection will be made by a committee composed of delegates from the Strauss Center at the University of Texas-Austin, Ohio Northern University and the AALS National Security Law section. This year’s delegates are Bobby Chesney (UT-Austin), Ashley Deeks (U. Va.), Laurie Blank (Emory), Bill Banks (Syracuse), Chris Jenks (SMU), Sudha Setty (Western New England), Peter Margulies (Roger Williams), and Liam O’Melinn (ONU). The winner each year will be announced in January at the National Security Law section program during the AALS Annual Meeting.

How to Make a Nomination

Nominations for the 2017 prize must be submitted by Sept. 30 to Carolyn Dockery of the Strauss Center ( A nomination should include the following:

• Full citation to the nominated article

• PDF copy of the nominated article

• Information about the nominated author’s full-time faculty status

• The nominator’s concise case (100 to 300 words) in favor of awarding the prize to that article

How to Support the Mike Lewis Prize

The founders of the Mike Lewis Prize have established an initial $10,000 fund to support 10 years’ worth of annual awards at the $1,000 level. Half of this money was donated by ONU’s Pettit College of Law and half by the Strauss Center at UT-Austin (the Strauss Center is also providing staff support for administration of the prize process and the associated funds). The sponsors hope the fund will grow through further donations so that the prize may continue to be awarded beyond the first 10 years.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution toward that purpose, please follow these instructions:

1. The check should be made out to “The Robert Strauss Center, at The University of Texas at Austin,” with the words “Michael Lewis Fund” clearly stated in the memo.

2. Mail the check to:

The Robert Strauss Center

The University of Texas at Austin

P.O. Box Y

Austin, Texas 78713

Unless the donation includes instructions to the contrary, all contributors (but not the donation amounts) will be named on the prize's homepage, which you can find here. Note that we will send you a donation receipt for tax purposes.

Thanks for your help in acknowledging scholarly excellence, and especially for honoring Mike!