Law Prof. Nominated for Justice Post

Philip B. Heymann, Specialist in Criminal Law and Veteran Prosecutor, to Serve

Ames Professor of Law Philip B. Heymann, a long-time veteran of Democratic administrations and a specialist in international criminal law, was nominated Friday for the position of deputy attorney general.

Heymann, who will fill the second highest post in the Department of Justice, said yesterday he shares Attorney General Janet Reno's aim of improving the condition of young Americans, especially those in high-crime inner-city areas.

In the past, he said, law enforcement officials "have relied on penalties and prison sentences with no perceptible result," but a new stress on "prevention as well as punishment" could be part of the department's new initiatives.

"One still has to figure out what the U.S. Justice Department should be doing....These are still very general ideas," he said.

He also hopes to improve the reputation of a department which lost prestige during the Reagan-Bush era, he said.


"The first step is restoring the credibility of the Justice Department," he said.

Law School colleagues praised the Clinton administration's choice.

"In terms of experience, I don't see how you can find anyone who could compare to Phil in terms of knowledge and insight about the department," said Pound Professor of Law James Vorenberg '49, who worked with Heymann as a Watergate prosecutor.

Heymann has served under a number of presidents, most recently as assistant attorney general heading the criminal division of the Justice Department under former president James E. Carter. The appointee's style is "unflappable," calm and "good natured," Vorenberg said.

Law School Lecturer Gary S. Katzman, who is an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston, said the choice of Heymann is welcome, both because of his "hands-on experience" and because he has "thought about important issues."

"His nomination is certainly viewed as an outstanding prospect," he said.

Heymann specializes in international criminal law issues and has worked with other countries, including Guatemala and Russia, to improve criminal law practices and procedures.

He is also concerned with international legal issues including terrorism and drug law enforcement, and he said he hopes his research interests can have a role in his future work.

"There's a good bit of interest in aiding other countries and building up there criminal justice systems," he said.

Heymann, who is one of relatively few criminal justice specialists at the Law School, will leave a large gap, Vorenberg said.

Heyman said he definitely plans to return to Harvard. Harvard professors are allowed only two concurrent years of leave, and the appointee said he does not know if he will have to resign and "hope for reappointment" or not.

"I'll miss Cambridge and I'll miss the family I have here," he said