Should a LawProf Opine Outside His Area of Expertise?

by Julian Ku

Professor William J. Stuntz, the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard has a very persuasive and well-argued essay in the Weekly Standard analyzing and rejecting arguments for a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

Stuntz is a very smart guy and a leading professor of criminal law. But even though I tend to agree with him here, he is not an expert on foreign policy or on Iraq. Should his views hold any weight?

The answer is yes. (As a blogger, I have to believe that). But we have to keep in mind that Stuntz is not offering anything based on his expertise as a lawyer or law professor, That doesn’t mean that he can’t offer a persuasive analysis that rivals (or exceeds) that of any pundit, but it does mean his status as a Harvard LawProf should not add much to his credibility here (ditto on Stuntz’ pundit-colleagues like Alan Dershowitz, who is worth listening to, but not because he is a lawprof).

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