Philip B. Heymann

In Memoriam

James Barr Ames Professor of Law, Emeritus


Philip Heymann was the James Barr Ames Professor of Law, Emeritus at the Harvard University Law School. Heymann served at high levels in both the State and Justice Departments during the Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton administrations including Deputy U.S. Attorney General (1993-1994). A former Fulbright Scholar with degrees from Yale University and Harvard Law School, Heymann served as clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Harlan, Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division (1978-81) and Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Justice Department, Acting Administrator of the State Department's Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organizations, Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary of State, and Deputy U.S. Attorney General (1993-94). In addition, he was a former associate prosecutor and consultant to the Watergate Special Force.

He was integrally involved in the national debate about the conditions necessary to keep high officials accountable to the system of criminal justice. Heymann’s global work reached from Guatemala, to Peru, Northern Ireland, the Palestinian Authority, South Africa, and Russia. At Harvard Law School he led efforts to encourage national and international public service by lawyers.

Heymann authored and edited seven books and numerous articles on terrorism, management in government, criminal justice, and combating corruption. His book, Protecting Liberty in Age of Terror, co-authored with Juliette Kayyem from the Kennedy School of Government, explores threats to national security and civil liberties posed by terrorism. Informed by meetings with senior counterterrorism experts from the United States and United Kingdom, Protecting Liberty in Age of Terror (2005) provides a legal framework for policymakers faced with decisions on coercive interrogation, detention, electronic surveillance, targeted killing, and racial profiling, among other issues. Jeffrey H. Smith, former General Counsel of the CIA, has said that Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror “should be read by the President and Congress, who should then move quickly to adopt as many of its suggestions as possible,” and former Republican Congressman Bob Barr warned, “current and future policymakers ignore this blueprint at our peril.”

Terrorism, Freedom, and Security (2003), Heymann’s previous book on terrorism, prompted Rand Beers, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Combating Terrorism, to describe Heymann as “one of the leading thinkers in the world on the subject of terrorism.” Ariel Merari, founder and former commander of Israel’s Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Management Team, described Heymann’s book Terrorism and America, as “by far the best treatise on coping with terrorism.”

Areas of Interest

Gabriella Blum & Philip B. Heymann, Laws, Outlaws, and Terrorists: Lessons from the War on Terrorism (2010).
Criminal Law & Procedure
Government & Politics
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
National Security Law
Politics & Political Theory
Executive Office
International Law
Type: Book
In this book, Blum and Heymann reject the argument that traditional American values embodied in domestic and international law can be ignored in any sustainable effort to keep the United States safe from terrorism. Instead, they demonstrate that the costs are great and the benefits slight from separating security and the rule of law. They argue that the harsh measures employed by the Bush administration were authorized too broadly, resulted in too much harm, and often proved to be counterproductive for security. Although they recognize that a severe terrorist attack might justify changing the balance between law and security, they call for reasoned judgment instead of a wholesale abandonment of American values. They also argue that being open to negotiations and seeking to win the moral support of the communities from which the terrorists emerge are noncoercive strategies that must be included in any future efforts to reduce terrorism. (From the Publisher)