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Claire Finkelstein

Claire Finkelstein

Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy

Claire Finkelstein’s current research addresses national security law and policy, democratic governance, and professional ethics. 

Finkelstein is the founder and faculty director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL), a non-partisan interdisciplinary institute affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). She is a distinguished research fellow at APPC and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI).

An expert in the law of armed conflict, military ethics, national security law, and professional ethics, she is a co-editor (with Jens David Ohlin) of The Oxford Series in Ethics, National Security, and the Rule of Law, and an editor of six of its volumes: Targeted Killings: Law & Morality in an Asymmetrical World (2012); Cyber War: Law and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts (2015); Weighing Lives in War (2017); Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority (2018); Preserving Cultural Heritage in Times of War (2022), and Between Crime and War: Hybrid Legal Frameworks for Asymmetric Conflict (forthcoming, 2022). She has published widely in national security and democratic governance, and most recently led a working group of over 30 national security professionals to produce a significant report discussing recommendations for closing Guantanamo Bay Prison. 

Finkelstein is a sought-after national security consultant, briefing individuals, Pentagon officials, U.S. Senate staff, and JAG Corps members on issues relating to national security law and practice. She is also regularly consulted on matters of personal and professional ethics. She is a frequent radio, podcast, broadcast, and print commentator and has published op-eds in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Newsweek. Her other scholarly work has focused on criminal law theory, moral and political philosophy, jurisprudence, and rational choice theory.