Federalist Society Honors Henderson for Scholarship, Teaching

Federalist Society Honors Henderson for Scholarship, Teaching
Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky
Law School Office of Communications
October 28, 2009

The Federalist Society is honoring M. Todd Henderson, Assistant Professor of Law, with its prestigious 2010 Paul M. Bator Award, the group announced in October.

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies established the Bator Award in memory of Paul M. Bator, who had been a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Harvard Law School. Each year, the award is given to a young academic (under 40) who embodies Bator’s excellence in legal scholarship, commitment to teaching and concern for students, and who has made a significant public impact.

“He fits all the criteria well. He already is a first-rate scholar,” said Eugene Meyer, President of the Federalist Society. “We have senior and highly talented academics on the selection committee and they were impressed with his scholarship, and he has been very helpful to students in a variety of ways.” It also was well-noted that Henderson served in the military, Meyer added.

The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to effecting change to the existing legal order. The 40,000 member-strong group of lawyers, law students, and scholars is committed to “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.”

Henderson, ’98, who was a member of the Federalist Society as a law student, said he always has been attracted to the Society’s commitment to the debate of competing ideas, even more so than its belief in limited government, personal freedom, and the questioning of state power and regulation.

“The core principles of the Federalist Society’s Chicago Student Chapter, of which I was a member, were always the robust debate of ideas, and not only in a purely ideological manner, and a willingness to challenge deeply held convictions,” said Henderson.

“This is consistent with what is great about the University of Chicago Law School: putting debate and arguments above any type of political shibboleth.”

Many great law scholars across the political spectrum are past recipients of the award, including two previous University of Chicago Law School scholars: Geoffrey Miller in 1992 and Adrian Vermeule in 2003.

“When I look down the list of award winners, it is pretty amazing,” said Henderson. “To be on a list with those people is deeply humbling.”

Henderson will receive the award at the Society’s annual National Student Symposium in February 2010.

Watch the presentation of the award by Prerak Shah '10:

M. Todd Henderson