Professor William Stuntz formally accepted the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law chair on February 6. After an introduction by Dean Elena Kagan ’86, Stuntz marked the occasion with a lecture entitled “Fighting Wars and Fighting Crime.”

Describing the similarities between fighting the war in Iraq and fighting crime in the U.S., Stuntz explained why the tactics employed in both cases have been unsuccessful.

“In both settings, policymakers face a choice between the same two options: ramp up the level of punishment, or ramp up the number of boots on the ground,” Stuntz said in his talk. “Here’s the problem: One of these approaches does the job better than the other, but the other one is much more politically sustainable. Policing works, but punishment sells.” Click here to view a copy of Stuntz’s lecture. (pdf)

Stuntz joined the HLS faculty in 2000 and writes about a wide range of criminal justice issues. He is currently writing a book about trends in crime punishment and policing titled Fighting Crime. Stuntz has also written articles and columns on a range of public issues for the New York Times, the New Republic, and the Weekly Standard.

Currently the vice dean for intellectual life at HLS and recipient of the 2004 Sacks-Freund Award for teaching, Stuntz came to HLS from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he also received his J.D. in 1984. He holds his B.A. in History and English from the College of William and Mary.

The Henry J. Friendly chair was established in 1993 by a close friend of Friendly’s. A summa graduate of HLS in 1927, Friendly was a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals from 1959 to 1974 and the chief justice for the last three years of his service.

Friendly had such a great impact on the law, Kagan explained in her introduction, that he is reputed to be the “greatest judge never to have sat on the Supreme Court.” The Friendly chair was previously held by Paul Weiler LL.M. ’65 until Stuntz was appointed to the chair in June of last year.