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Alan Dershowitz

  • Dershowitz to defend Trump at trial

    January 17, 2020

    Alan Dershowitz will be presenting oral arguments before the U.S. Senate at the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. In a brief cell phone conversation Friday morning, Dershowitz said, “I can confirm that I’ll be presenting oral arguments.” Then he cut the conversation short and referred to his statement on Twitter. ...Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School and a frequent Island visitor, also weighed in. “My former colleague Alan Dershowitz knows a lot about criminal law but not much about constitutional law. He’s flashy but not all that substantive. But flashiness isn’t exactly lacking on Team Trump,” Tribe wrote in an email to The Times. “So adding Dershowitz to the defense  team suggests that Trump intends to push the argument that impeachable offenses have to be statutory crimes like blackmail or robbery, but that’s definitely wrong and reflects serious ignorance about how the US Constitution works. For constitutional expertise and legal acumen, I’d pit my own former student Adam Schiff against Alan Dershowitz any day.”

  • Hamilton Wouldn’t Impeach Trump

    October 15, 2019

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz: What is an impeachable offense? Rep. Maxine Waters, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, says the definition is purely political: “whatever Congress says it is—there is no law.” She’s wrong. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Framers debated impeachment of a president. Some argued for the power of Congress to remove the president for “maladministration” or other open-ended terms that appeared in several state constitutions. Others, including James Madison, opposed such vague criteria, fearful that they would turn the republic into a British-style parliamentary system, in which Congress could remove a president over political differences—effectively a vote of no confidence. That, Madison argued, would be the “equivalent to tenure during pleasure of the Senate.” The Framers wanted an independent president who could be removed only for genuine wrongdoing. So they agreed to the criteria that became part of the Constitution: “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

  • In Defense of Harvey Weinstein’s Harvard Lawyer

    March 4, 2019

    The law professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. is among the most accomplished people at Harvard. He has helped to overturn scores of wrongful convictions and to free thousands from wrongful incarceration. ... Sullivan faces this “clamor of popular suspicions and prejudices” because he agreed to act as a criminal-defense attorney for an object of scorn and hatred: Harvey Weinstein. ... Catharine MacKinnon, Harvard’s James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law, emailed: The issue is not whether Ron can represent reviled clients accused of crimes and still be the faculty dean of a college. Of course he can. The issue is substantive. ...The Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig echoes the argument that it’s possible to be a survivor of sexual assault and feel comfortable with Sullivan’s choice. ...“The skills, capacities, and dispositions that would help to make a person a valued defense counsel are also the skills, capacities, and dispositions that would help to make a person a valued Faculty Dean,” [Randall Kennedy] argued.  ... The Harvard professor Jeannie Suk Gersen emailed me her concerns with such “processes”: "Professor Sullivan has chosen to represent and defend persons whom many people would not defend. Strong disagreement with those choices is of course part of the exploration of differences of principle and opinion that we’d hope for in a university." ... “Little more than half a century ago, mainstream lawyers were frightened away from defending alleged Communists who faced congressional witch hunts, blacklisting, criminal trials, and even execution,” Harvard Law’s Alan Dershowitz wrote. ... The Harvard professor Janet Halley calls Harvard’s actions “deeply disturbing.” She explained in an email: The right to counsel even for the most despised defendants, the basic role of counsel in our legal order, the presumption of innocence, academic freedom, and the right of University employees to assist persons accused in the University’s Title IX proceedings—are all implicated here. ... The Harvard law professor Scott Westfahl, however, defended the idea of a climate review, also by email. ... “We are all better off as a result,” and he noted, “I completely support the right of Professor Sullivan, an extremely talented defense lawyer, to take on a very difficult case. Should Mr. Weinstein be convicted, there will be absolutely no doubt that he received a fair hearing with the best possible defense counsel.”

  • Norm Eisen

    Q&A with Norman Eisen ’91

    January 30, 2019

    An HLS education’s value for an author: One of the things I first learned how to do at HLS was how to assimilate large amounts…

  • A Harvard face-off in the court of public opinion over Trump, Mueller

    April 20, 2018

    Some spirited sniping between two Harvard Law School giants might be funny in some context, were the fate of Western democracy not potentially tottering in the balance. In an Ali-Frazier battle of legal minds, former federal judge Nancy Gertner this week smote celebrated legal scholar Alan Dershowitz in the opinion section of The New York Times, accusing him of falsely smearing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether or not the Trump campaign was in on it. Gertner and Dershowitz are longtime friends, but the highbrow exchange had an edge. Gertner, a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School, lumped Dershowitz, the loquacious Harvard law professor emeritus, in the same paragraph with partisan mouthpieces Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

  • Trump Tried to Fire Mueller. So What?

    January 29, 2018

    The saga of Donald Trump and Robert Mueller took a dramatic new turn on Thursday night when the New York Times first reported that the president had ordered the special counsel to be fired in June last year...We asked legal experts whether they think Mueller now has enough evidence to pursue obstruction of justice charges against the president, or if a different outcome is more likely...[Laurence Tribe]: The president’s foiled effort to rid himself of the Mueller investigation in June 2017, and his now-exposed invention of patently phony excuses for doing so—much as he had invented fake reasons for firing Comey before admitting his actual Russia-related reason on national television—eliminates any possible defense that Trump was clueless about the relevant rules...[Alan Dershowitz]: A president cannot be accused of obstruction for merely exercising his constitutional authority regardless of his motive...[Alex Whiting]: In an obstruction case against President Trump, it is unlikely that there will be a single piece of smoking-gun evidence.

  • Donald Trump has congressional immunity. Yes or no?

    December 20, 2017

    A response to Laurence Tribe by Alan Dershowitz. My colleague Larry Tribe’s response is unfortunately not responsive to my arguments. He erects several straw men, which he proceeds to knock down, but he fails to respond to my most compelling arguments. Two striking examples: Larry correctly points out that congressional immunity is based explicitly on the text of the Constitution, but he fails to deal with my other primary example—judicial immunity.

  • A Moral Adventure in the Law

    May 18, 2017

    In Alan Stone's classes, his delight in teaching is palpable, and the topics can be startling.

  • Tribute: James Alan McPherson ’68

    October 21, 2016

    Not everyone at the Harvard Law School in the mid to late 1960s understood that a student named James Alan McPherson—a young African-American man who would later go on to be the first in our class to receive a McArthur “genius” grant—was in fact a genius.

  • Dershowitz and Other Professors Decry ‘Pervasive and Severe Infringement’ of Student Rights

    May 19, 2016

    A group of law professors are accusing the civil rights office of the U.S. Education Department of taking “unlawful actions” that have led to “pervasive and severe infringements” of speech rights and due-process protections on college campuses. An open letter signed by Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz and 20 other legal scholars blasts a series of directives issued by the federal office to schools on dealing with sexual misconduct and harassment complaints from students...Other signers include New York University law professor Richard Epstein, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephanos Bibas and UPenn history professor Alan Charles Kors, co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

  • Harvard Law profs challenge federal sex-assault ‘guidance’

    May 18, 2016

    A collection of prominent law school professors, including Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, shot back at President Barack Obama’s Education Department over its practice of using “Dear Colleague” letters to lay down policy mandates that ride roughshod over Americans’ constitutional rights. A letter from the educators dated Monday asserts that the department’s civil rights office “has unlawfully expanded the nature and scope of institutions’ responsibility to address sexual harassment” through its directives regarding Title IX, the 1972 law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in providing access to education...Dershowitz joined three colleagues from Harvard Law School in Cambridge to sign the letter, along with 17 other professors hailing from schools scattered across the country. The letter also quotes one of the signatories, Harvard civil rights expert Elizabeth Bartholet, who called the elimination of due process “madness” in 2014.

  • Sex allegations against Dershowitz called ‘mistake’

    April 11, 2016

    Two plaintiffs’ lawyers admitted Friday that they made “a mistake” when they accused famed attorney Alan Dershowitz of having sex with their client when she was a minor. The admission came in a joint statement released by the lawyers, Paul G. Cassell and Bradley J. Edwards, and Dershowitz to settle defamation suits the two sides filed against one another in state court in Florida. “Edwards and Cassell acknowledge that it was a mistake to have filed sexual misconduct accusations against Dershowitz,” the statement said. “[A]nd the sexual misconduct accusations made in all public filings ... are hereby withdrawn. Dershowitz also withdraws his accusations that Edwards and Cassell acted unethically.”

  • Law School Affiliates Remember Alum Scalia for Fiery Personality, Contributions to Law

    February 16, 2016

    Harvard Law School affiliates remembered alumnus and Supreme Court Justice Antonin G. Scalia, who died Saturday at age 79, for his vibrant, fiery personality and his substantial contributions to United States law. “Justice Scalia will be remembered as one of the most influential jurists in American history,” Law School Dean Martha L. Minow wrote in a statement. ...  Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz, who knew Scalia personally, often found himself squaring off against the justice. Dershowitz said. “I disagree with almost all of his opinions, but I found him to be a formidable intellectual adversary.”....Law professor Charles Fried, who has written extensively on Scalia’s judicial stances, wrote in an email, “I knew him in so many ways over so many years. I am very sad about this great man's death.”...Law professor Richard Lazarus penned an op-ed in the Harvard Law Record extolling Scalia’s contributions to the art of oral argument. In a Bloomberg View piece, columnist and Law professor Noah R. Feldman wrote, “Antonin Scalia will go down as one of the greatest justices in U.S. Supreme Court history -- and one of the worst.” Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe commented in Politico Magazine, “To say that Scalia will be missed is an understatement.”

  • Justice Antonin Scalia’s Innovative Opinions And Time At Harvard Remembered

    February 15, 2016

    On Saturday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at the age of 79. Harvard Law Emeritus Professor Alan Dershowitz, who knew Justice Antonin Scalia for many years, joined WBUR’s Weekend Edition Sunday to talk about Scalia’s innovative opinions and legacy.

  • Alan Dershowitz on the Defense (His Own)

    December 14, 2015

    Last month, demonstrators at Johns Hopkins University interrupted Alan M. Dershowitz as he was giving a fiery speech defending Israel. The disruption normally would not have fazed Mr. Dershowitz, a former Harvard Law School professor who thrives on controversy and relishes taking on opponents in and out of the courtroom. The protesters, however, were not challenging his Middle East politics. Instead, they held up a sign reading, “You Are Rape Culture.” Mr. Dershowitz knew what it meant. A decade ago, he had defended a friend, a money manager named Jeffrey E. Epstein, after authorities in Palm Beach, Fla., found evidence indicating that he was paying underage girls to give him sexual massages. The lawyer led a scorched-earth attack on the girls and, with a team of high-priced lawyers, cut a plea deal for Mr. Epstein that the local police said was too lenient. Over a five-decade career, Mr. Dershowitz has represented some of America’s most prominent criminal defendants, including O. J. Simpson, Leona Helmsley, Mike Tyson and Claus von Bulow. Now, he finds himself on the other side, in a legal battle to clear his own name. At 77, he is struggling to absorb a bitter lesson — that choosing the wrong client can exact its own cost.

  • Final score: Dershowitz 137, BDS 101

    November 3, 2015

    Lawyer, academic, and political commentator Professor Alan Dershowitz won over a packed debate on BDS at the Oxford Union, with the motion ‘Is the BDS movement against Israel wrong?’ being carried with 137 votes to 101. The lively event on Sunday night pitted Dershowitz against British human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has campaigned on various issues and notably attempted to commit a citizen’s arrest on Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in 2001.

  • Alan Dershowitz’s History of Jewish Lawyers

    September 21, 2015

    Last year, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, known for defending high-profile clients such as O.J. Simpson, Michael Milken and Claus von Bulow, won an unusual case: He successfully argued that the biblical Abraham was not guilty of the attempted murder of his son, Isaac. “It got Abraham off,” he jokes. His argument was part of a mock trial at a synagogue in Manhattan, and it inspired him to write his latest book, “Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer.” Coming out Oct. 6, the book offers a history of Jewish lawyers, from Abraham through figures like the French jurist and law professor René Cassin and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

  • ​The Unsafe Marketplace

    May 28, 2015

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. The current code word being tossed around to protect political correctness from competition in the marketplace of ideas is “unsafe.” “I feel unsafe” has become the argument stopper on many university campuses. Efforts have been made to shut down controversial events or speakers, some of which have succeeded, at MIT, the University of Michigan, Northeastern University, Oxford, Hampshire College, Smith College, and other great universities on the grounds that students would feel “unsafe.” Students must, of course, be and feel physically safe in their dorms, classrooms, and campuses. That’s what university and city police are for: to protect against physical assaults and threats. But no one on a university campus should be or feel safe or protected when it comes to the never-ending war of ideas.

  • Are Baltimore charges about justice or crowd control?

    May 6, 2015

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. When Baltimore’s state attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges last week against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray and proclaimed to the city that “I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace,’” it’s possible that her decisions were based, at least in part, on the understandable goal of preventing further riots. This goal is commendable, but the mean selected to achieve it — hearing the call of demonstrators — raises fundamental questions regarding the due process right of those charged with serious crimes. No decision on charges should ever be made on the basis of satisfying the demands of demonstrators or under the threat of violent demonstrations. Crowd control is not a proper component of prosecutorial discretion and is inconsistent with due process. Prosecutorial discretion should be exercised on the basis of an objective application of the law to the facts and not on the basis of the impact it may have on the crowd.

  • Alan Dershowitz: Germans, Europeans Want to Forget Holocaust

    April 17, 2015

    On the the 70th Holocaust Remembrance Day, renowned legal analyst Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV that most Germans want to forget about the Holocaust. "The vast majority of Germans want to put it behind them and want to forget about it," Dershowitz, Harvard Law School professor emeritus, told John Bachman and Miranda Khan on "Newsmax Now" on Thursday. "That's true all over Europe. People feel guilty about it," he explained. "We have to remember because if you don't remember, it can be repeated." According to Dershowitz, who is an outspoken supporter of Israel, "to prevent another Holocaust, we must always remember the prior Holocaust, and as Elie Wiesel once put it so well, 'the lesson of the Holocaust is always believe the threats of your enemies more than the promises of your friends.' "

  • EPA plan needs a debate based on reason

    April 13, 2015

    An op-ed by Alan M. Dershowitz, Neal K. Katyal, Theodore B. Olson and H. Jefferson Powell. Constitutional arguments stand or fall on their merits. That principle is as old as the Republic, but a recent debate suggests that it is worth restating. The issue is the constitutionality of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, with Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe arguing that the EPA’s proposed actions would violate constitutional principles of separation of powers and federalism, and might require just compensation payments to energy companies; his critics vigorously dispute each of Tribe’s claims. But it is not the substance of their disagreement that has caught our attention...The great Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in 1805 that in debate over “any political proposition,” an individual’s judgment will be greatly “influenced by the wishes, the affections, and the general theories of those by whom” it is to be discussed and decided. He might have added that less dignified, self-interested motives can be at play as well...we can and should emulate Marshall and draw a line between public critique, however vigorous, and the public invocation of private suspicions.

  • Judge Strikes Claims Against Dershowitz from Legal Record

    April 8, 2015

    A federal judge on Tuesday said lawyers representing alleged underage sex-abuse victims of Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein improperly aired accusations against Prince Andrew and retired Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra of Florida struck from the record claims against the British royal and the American lawyer that surfaced in a civil lawsuit over the government’s handling of the Epstein sex-abuse scandal.

  • Judge drops Dershowitz from lawsuit involving ‘lurid’ allegations

    April 8, 2015

    A judge has dropped Alan M. Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School emeritus professor, from the legal proceedings in Florida in which a woman named him as one of several men with whom she had sex as a minor. Dershowitz has vehemently denied the allegations, calling them “categorically false.” Despite the judge’s decision, he has vowed to pursue a defamation lawsuit he brought against the woman’s lawyers for filing the allegations in court. “This is great news because it means I am legally vindicated,” Dershowitz said by phone on Tuesday, after the ruling was released. “I will be factually vindicated in the defamation lawsuit.” In his 10-page ruling, US District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra described the allegations as “lurid” and “immaterial and impertinent” to the underlying lawsuit. He ordered them stricken from the case.

  • What Was Ted Cruz like at Harvard?

    March 30, 2015

    Presidential candidate Ted Cruz loved to argue as a Harvard student and boasted he'd get the best grades in his class, only to lose out to two other classmates. In a series of exclusive interviews with Metro, several of his former classmates painted a complex portrait of the Tea Party's most beloved presidential candidate. Laurence Tribe, a longtime Harvard law professor, said Cruz took his constitutional law class, challenged his teacher in interesting and "invariably right-leaning" ways at every turn...Renowned legal scholar Alan Dershowitz recalled Cruz was "not a very smiley guy," and he thought would become an "extraordinarily able appellate lawyer."...Another longtime Harvard law professor Charles Fried said he worked with Cruz when the latter was the editor of the Harvard Law Review. "I have a vivid recollection of a very smart, very disciplined man," he said. "I've been reading all these sharp elbow stories but I didn't see that. He was, I would say, correct. Respectful and correct."

  • Harvard Law Pushes Back

    February 2, 2015

    The University of Virginia held a two-day conference last February on “Sexual Misconduct Among College Students.” One of the speakers was the Education Department’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon, who touted her office’s efforts to compel colleges and universities, under pain of losing federal funds, to adopt draconian policies on sexual harassment and assault. These policies have raised serious concerns about due process and basic fairness for the accused, and an audience member asked Ms. Lhamon how she planned to deal with such “push-back.” Her reply: “We’ve received a lot of push-back, and we need to push forward notwithstanding.” The recent experience of Harvard Law School demonstrates the value of pushing back...Most institutions yield to OCR’s pressure without significant dissent. But at Harvard, 28 law professors—including liberal luminaries Elizabeth Bartholet, Alan Dershowitz, Nancy Gertner, Janet Halley, Duncan Kennedy and Charles Ogletree —signed an open letter, published in the Boston Globe, in which they described the new policies and procedures as “inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach.”...Still, the law school’s new procedures are a significant improvement over the university’s, and they promise more fairness than the kangaroo-court systems many universities have adopted under OCR pressure. The investigation of Harvard College is still under way, and the university could do far worse than to follow the lead of Harvard Law, the school that pushed back.

  • In Wake of Allegations, 38 Law School Profs Sign Letter ‘in Support of’ Dershowitz

    January 26, 2015

    A group of 38 Harvard Law School professors have signed a letter “in support of” Law School professor emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz, who was recently accused of having sexual relations with a minor who was allegedly trafficked by billionaire Jeffrey E. Epstein...A group of three Law School faculty members—Nancy Gertner, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., and Philip B. Heymann—began the effort to write the letter in support of their colleague late last week, Gertner and Heymann said...In an interview, Heymann said he took issue with how “Jane Doe No. 3’s” lawyers presented their allegations against Dershowitz. "[The allegations have] been set up, either purposely or by accident, I don't know which, in a way that denies him all opportunity to defend his reputation [in court]," Heymann said, adding that "he can say it, but to have the [charges] resolved officially [in court] has been put out of reach."

  • Alan Dershowitz gets support of Harvard professors

    January 23, 2015

    Three dozen Harvard Law School professors on Thursday rallied to the defense of their emeritus colleague, Alan M. Dershowitz, who last month was named by a woman as one of several men with whom she allegedly had sex as a minor. Coming one day after the woman filed a sworn statement repeating her allegations, the statement by the law professors sharply criticized the woman’s lawyers for making the allegations in a lawsuit to which Dershowitz is not a party. As a result, he is not able to make a direct response in court.

  • A Nightmare of False Accusation That Could Happen to You

    January 15, 2015

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. Imagine the following situation: You’re a 76-year-old man, happily married for nearly 30 years, with three children and two grandchildren. You’ve recently retired after 50 years of teaching at Harvard Law School. You have an unblemished personal record, though your legal and political views are controversial. You wake up on the day before New Year’s Eve to learn that two lawyers have filed a legal document that, in passing, asserts that 15 years ago you had sex on numerous occasions and in numerous locations with an underage female. The accusation doesn’t mention the alleged victim’s name—she’s referred to as Jane Doe #3, and the court document includes no affidavit by her...Welcome to the Kafkaesque world of American justice. But Kafka was writing fiction when he described the ordeal faced by Josef K in his famous novel, “The Trial.” What I have described is real. It is happening to me right now. And if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

  • The Case Against Boycotting SodaStream

    December 22, 2014

    An op-ed by Alan M. Dershowitz. I write to commend President Faust’s decision to investigate the unilateral action of the Harvard University Dining Services to boycott SodaStream products. I have visited the SodaStream factory and spoken to many of its Palestinian-Arab employees, who love working for a company that pays them high wages and provides excellent working conditions. I saw Jews and Muslims, Israeli and Palestinians, working together and producing an excellent product that is both healthy and economical.

  • At Educational Event, a Modern Legal Interpretation of a Biblical Story

    November 17, 2014

    The facts were undeniable: The defendant, one Abraham (no known surname), had teetered on the brink of stabbing his son Isaac to death, only to be stopped by divine intervention. Luckily he had a lawyer with a thirst for tough cases, not to mention a jury pool consisting exclusively of people who proudly claim to be descended from the accused...For the prosecution: Eliot Spitzer, a former governor and attorney general of New York. For the defense: Alan M. Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor who was one of Mr. Spitzer’s former professors but is perhaps better known for defending O. J. Simpson and other notorious clients.

  • Harvard’s view on consent at issue in sexual assault policy

    November 17, 2014

    In the fierce debate about campus sexual assault, Harvard University’s policy has come under particular scrutiny, assailed by some professors as a product of political correctness that stacks the deck against the accused. But a range of specialists who help colleges handle misconduct allegations say Harvard’s policy is decidedly mainstream...Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus Harvard Law professor who was among those who signed the article, said colleges have adopted broadly similar policies on sexual assaults in keeping with federal mandates, which he said are biased against the accused. “It’s really not a criticism of Harvard,” he said. “It’s a criticism of the federal government. It’s a criticism of the Obama administration.”

  • Bible’s Abraham to Be Tried in New York

    November 14, 2014

    It was a father-son hiking trip gone terribly wrong. When they reached the mountain peak, the father tied up his son, placed him on a pile of firewood and prepared to slash the boy’s throat—until he heard a voice telling him to stop. On Sunday, the father—also known as the biblical patriarch Abraham —will be brought up on charges of attempted murder and endangering the welfare of his son, Isaac, in a mock trial at Temple Emanu-El synagogue on the Upper East Side...Presiding over the Old Testament-inspired case will be U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Representing Abraham will be high-profile defense attorney Alan Dershowitz. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will lead the prosecution.

  • Teachers decry Harvard’s shift on sex assaults

    October 15, 2014

    Twenty-eight current and retired Harvard Law School professors are asking the university to abandon its new sexual misconduct policy and craft different guidelines for investigating allegations, asserting that the new rules violate the due process rights of the accused. “This is an issue of political correctness run amok,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, an emeritus Harvard Law professor who was among the faculty members signing an article, sent to the Globe’s Opinion page, that is critical of the new procedures...The professors said the new policy fails to ensure adequate representation for the accused and includes rules governing sexual conduct between two impaired students that are “starkly one-sided as between complainants and respondents, and entirely inadequate to address the complex issues involved in these unfortunate situations involving extreme use and abuse of alcohol and drugs by our students.” In addition to Dershowitz, faculty members who signed the letter included Elizabeth Bartholet, Nancy Gertner, and Charles Ogletree.

  • The Education of a Wartime President

    October 3, 2014

    An op-ed by Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz: Last year the Obama administration issued, with considerable fanfare, a new military policy designed to reduce civilian casualties when U.S. forces are attacking enemy targets. This policy required "near certainty" that there will be no civilian casualties before an air attack is permitted. When Israel acted in self-defense this summer against Hamas rocket and tunnel attacks, the Obama administration criticized the Israeli army for "not doing enough" to reduce civilian casualties. When pressed about what more Israel could do—especially when Hamas fired its rockets and dug its terror tunnels in densely populated areas, deliberately using humans as shields—the Obama administration declined to provide specifics.

  • A House Divided

    September 22, 2014

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign definitively told Steven Salaita this month that he was out of a job there. Debate about whether the university did the right thing in pulling his job offer weeks before the start of classes due to the tenor of his anti-Israel remarks on Twitter lives on....Some, including Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who backed Summers and opposed the tenure bid of Norman Finkelstein, the controversial former political scientist at DePaul University, have a more cynical take. Dershowitz said that in his experience, academics working in STEM tend, “in general, to be more objective and principled, and those in the humanities tend to be ideologues and results-oriented, and believe it’s the appropriate role of the scholar to use his or her podium to propagandize students.”

  • A choice of evils

    September 18, 2014

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. Part 5. Preventing terrorism often requires a choice of evils: to target terrorists and their leaders, knowing civilians will be killed; to collect massive amounts of private data in an effort to track terrorists; to detain potential terrorists without trial. But perhaps no choice of evils is more controversial than the use of torture to secure real-time intelligence against imminent acts of terrorism. Is there ever a justification for the use of torture?

  • Targeted killings and the rule of law

    September 17, 2014

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. Part 4. President Obama recently announced that the United States had targeted and killed Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of an Al Qaeda-linked group of terrorists in Somalia, and that it is now targeting ISIS leaders for assassination. We have, of course, targeted several alleged terrorists in the past, including at least one US citizen. Although our government’s official position is that we would prefer to capture and detain wanted terrorists, rather than kill them, the way the Navy SEAL team went after Osama bin Laden strongly suggests we preferred him dead rather than alive. But his killing may have been an exception — because of his high visibility — to the salutary general rule that it is better to capture than to kill, if for no other reason than that a live detainee is a potential source of valuable intelligence. But what should a democracy, constrained by the rule of law, do if a dangerous terrorist cannot be captured, or can only be captured with undue risk to our soldiers?

  • Detentions of war

    September 16, 2014

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. Part 3. How should a nation committed to the rule of law deal with captured terrorists who are believed to be dangerous but who cannot realistically be brought to trial? This issue has arisen in the context of the debate over whether to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, which candidate Barack Obama promised to do, but President Obama has not yet done. A major reason why Guantanamo remains open is that it contains several detainees — the precise number is unknown — who, if released, would almost certainly return to a life of terrorism. Indeed, some have, and many in detention have overtly stated their malignant intentions. Others have histories that suggest the likelihood of recidivism. But even some of the most dangerous detainees cannot be tried, either because there is insufficient admissible evidence of a specific crime or because the evidence comes from undercover sources the government is unwilling to out. If Guantanamo were to be closed, as it should be, and the detainees transferred to other facilities, the basic problem would still remain.

  • Surveillance and privacy

    September 15, 2014

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. Part 2. The recent disclosure by Edward Snowden of the US government’s wide net of surveillance has stimulated an emotional debate about security, privacy, and secrecy. We have learned from Snowden that the National Security Agency engages in virtually unchecked monitoring of all sorts of communications that were thought to be private but that we now know are maintained in secret government databases. Three fundamental issues are raised by these disclosures: Was it proper for the government to conduct such massive surveillance and to maintain such extensive files? Was it proper for the government to keep its surveillance program secret from the public? If not, did this governmental impropriety justify the unlawful disclosure of so much classified information by Snowden?

  • War of principles

    September 15, 2014

    An op-ed by Alan Dershowitz. Part 1. When democracies seek to protect their citizens against new threats posed by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, and Boko Haram, the old rules — designed for conventional warfare among nations — sometimes become anachronistic. New balances must be struck between preserving people’s civil liberties and protecting them against terrorist violence. As Aharon Barak, the former president of the Supreme Court of Israel — a nation that has confronted this issue over many decades — once put it: “Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand.”

  • Law experts give Obama 10 reasons to free Pollard

    June 30, 2014

    A group of leading American constitutional and criminal law scholars and practitioners wrote to US President Obama to urge that he commute American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served. The letter, dated June 20, was signed by seven professors from Harvard Law School, Obama’s alma mater: Alan M. Dershowitz, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Philip B. Heymann, Mary Ann Glendon, Gabriella Blum, Frank I. Michelman and Irwin Cotler (a Canadian law professor emeritus, former justice minister and attorney general of Canada, and a sometimes visiting professor at Harvard).

  • Newsmax TV Signs Dershowitz for Legal Program

    June 16, 2014

    Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy announced the signing of an agreement with best-selling author and legal expert Alan Dershowitz to host “You and the Law,” a weekly TV series offering practical legal advice to ordinary Americans.

  • Three Harvard Law faculty deliver commencement addresses

    May 29, 2014

    Professors Charles Ogletree, Noah Feldman, and Randall Kennedy each delivered commencement addresses this year, with Ogletree also receiving an honorary doctorate. Professors Alan Dershowitz and Mark Tushnet were also rewarded honorary degrees.

  • Dershowitz: Christie’s Speech at Jewish Event ‘Inappropriate’

    May 20, 2014

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech before a Jewish charity over the weekend, in which he never mentioned Israel, was essentially a campaign speech that had no place at the event, renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz says. "I thought it was a stump speech. It was somewhat inappropriate for a charitable event which had Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, everybody talking about people who do a great deal of good to the world," Dershowitz told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

  • Alan Dershowitz decries Dzhokhar Tasarnaev’s consitutional challenge to death penalty

    May 8, 2014

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers want to stage a constitutional challenge to the death penalty in the wake of last week’s botched Oklahoma execution — but a leading death penalty opponent says the accused jihadi is the wrong poster boy for the cause. “This is not a good case,” Harvard Law School professor and constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz said about Tsarnaev, accused of acting on a Islamic extremist agenda in the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath that left four people dead, hundreds injured, and more than a dozen badly maimed.

  • Dershowitz: Sterling’s ‘Very Bad’ Comments Raise Privacy Issues

    May 1, 2014

    Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz condemned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's "very bad" racist comments, but told Newsmax that his greater concern was that "I don't think we want the thought police to be intruding on people's private conversations." "We need to preserve privacy," Dershowitz said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. "We need to be able to preserve a person's ability to share his thoughts, even if we don't agree with his thoughts, with private people."

  • Mass. senator seeks to regulate TV, Internet, radio for ‘hate crimes’

    May 1, 2014

    Democrat Sen. Edward Markey from Massachusetts says the government should crack down on broadcast messages that promote what he calls hate crimes, by regulating content on television, radio and the Internet...That claim has other First Amendment legal minds howling. “He’s not going to be able to come up with legislation that sufficiently protects the First Amendment,” said Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Breitbart reported.