Stuntzian

30 Apr
April 30, 2014

Many readers who find their way to this blog will remember a blog called Less than the Least that I co-authored with criminal law scholar Bill Stuntz from early 2008, shortly after Bill got a cancer diagnosis, until Bill’s death in March 2011.   (The blog is online here, and Bill’s cancer posts are here).  This blog is inspired by that one in many ways.

Every few months I get an email from a friend, often someone I first met through Less than the Least, proclaiming that he or she has just written a rather “Stuntzian” article.  By Stuntzian, the friend means counterintuitive, or puncturing the conventional wisdom in some way, often by flipping it on its head—as with Bill’s argument that the Warren Court’s decisions enhancing the Constitutional rights of criminal defendants may actually have left poor defendants worse off.  The friends’ emails always add a dollop of Stuntzian humility—saying, for instance, that they of course have not written a truly Stuntzian article, just a pale approximation.

For those who are interested in other top scholars’ engagement with Bill’s work, the essay collection The Political Heart of Criminal Justice (edited by Mike Klarman, Carol Steiker, and me) is just out in paperback from Cambridge University Press.  It’s a wonderful book, and one of the paperback’s many attractions is that you don’t need to take out a mortgage to afford the purchase price.

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