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Professors George Priest, John Witt ’99 Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, has elected Yale Law School Professors George L. Priest and John Fabian Witt ’99 to its 2014 Class of Members.

George L. Priest is the Edward J. Phelps Professor of Law and Economics and Kauffman Distinguished Research Scholar in Law, Economics, and Entrepreneurship at Yale Law School. An internationally recognized expert, Professor Priest has focused his research over the past two decades on antitrust, the operation of private and public insurance, and the role of the legal system in promoting economic growth. He joined Yale Law School in 1981 and is co-director of the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Public Policy, which facilitates the scholarly work of the Yale law and economics faculty and supports student interest and research in the field. Before coming to Yale, Professor Priest taught law at the University of Chicago, SUNY/Buffalo, and UCLA. His subject areas are antitrust; capitalism; regulated industries; torts; and insurance and public policy. Professor Priest is chairman of the Council of Academic Advisers of the American Enterprise Institute. He holds a B.A. from Yale and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.

John Fabian Witt ’99 is Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School. His most recent book, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, was awarded the 2013 Bancroft Prize, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, was selected for the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012. Previous writing includes Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2007), and the prizewinning book, The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2004), as well as articles in the American Historical Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, The Yale Law Journal, and other scholarly journals. He has written for The New York Times, Slate, and the Washington Post. In 2010 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for his project on the laws of war in American history. Professor Witt is a graduate of Yale Law School and Yale College and he holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale. Before returning to Yale, he was the George Welwood Murray Professor of Legal History at Columbia University. He served as law clerk to Judge Pierre N. Leval on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Don Randel, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity – and responsibility – to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Members of the 2014 class include winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 11, 2014, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.