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PUNDITOCALYPSE! Alan Dershowitz: Comey Confirms that I’m Right – and All the Democratic Commentators are Wrong

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Alan Dershowitz writes: In his testimony former FBI director James Come echoed a view that I alone have been expressing for several weeks, and that has been attacked by nearly every Democratic pundit.

Comey confirmed that under our Constitution, the president has the authority to direct the FBI to stop investigating any individual. I paraphrase, because the transcript is not yet available:  the president can, in theory, decide who to investigate, who to stop investigating, who to prosecute and who not to prosecute.  The president is the head of the unified executive branch of government, and the Justice Department and the FBI work under him and he may order them to do what he wishes.

As a matter of law, Comey is 100 percent correct.  As I have long argued, and as Comey confirmed in his written statement, our history shows that many presidents—from Adams to Jefferson, to Lincoln, to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, to Bush 1, and to Obama – have directed the Justice Department with regard to ongoing investigations. The history is clear, the precedents are clear, the constitutional structure is clear, and common sense is clear.

Yet virtually every Democratic pundit, in their haste to “get” President Trump, has willfully ignored these realities.  In doing so they have endangered our civil liberties and constitutional rights.

[Read the full story here, at Fox News]

Now that even former Director Comey has acknowledged that the Constitution would permit the president to direct the Justice Department and the FBI in this matter, let us put the issue of obstruction of justice behind us once and for all and focus on the political, moral, and other non-criminal aspects of President Trump’s conduct.

Comey’s testimony was devastating with regard to President Trump’s credibility – at least as Comey sees it.  He was also critical of President Trump’s failure to observe the recent tradition of FBI independence from presidential influence.  Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] The Least Diverse Place in America 

What is the least diverse place in America? It’s the institution that most actively seeks racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity: the college campus! Colleges want students to look different, but think the same. Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, explains.

This video with Charlie Kirk is part of an exciting partnership between PragerU and Turning Point USA that will include videos with other young conservatives like Ben Shapiro, Antonia Okafor, Matt Walsh, and more. Visit here to learn more.


[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz on the Michael Flynn Controversy 

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the controversy surrounding national security advisor Michael Flynn.

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[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz on President Obama: ‘He will go down in history as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever’

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Alan Dershowitz: Did FBI Director Comey Exceed His Authority? 

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UnknownAlan Dershowitz writes: FBI Director James Comey’s statement recommending against prosecuting Hillary Clinton was unusual in several respects. First, it is not generally regarded as the job of the FBI to make PANTSUIT-REPORTjudgment calls about whether or not to prosecute. Those judgment calls are supposed to be made by prosecutors. The job of the FBI is to investigate the facts and lay them out as objectively and completely as possible so that prosecutors can exercise their discretion and judgment.

Although technically the attorney general in this case could exercise independent judgment, she is unlikely to do so, having already said she would defer to the FBI’s recommendation. So in this instance the FBI found the facts, applied the law and exercised prosecutorial discretion. A strange role for an investigative agency!

“The evidence in this case, as he described it, would not have justified a criminal prosecution. There is simply no precedent for indicting a former secretary of State for carelessness, even extreme carelessness.”

Second, it is unusual for an FBI director to express opinions such as the kind that Comey made in his statement. He said that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of sensitive material. That is not a legal concept, but to lay people it could sound very much like “gross negligence,” which is one of the statutory criteria for bringing a prosecution.

Normally when a prosecutor declines prosecution, all that is said is that there will be no indictment. It is rare, though not unprecedented, for a prosecutor to then go on to excoriate the object of the investigation. The question should be asked: Is that a proper role for the director of the FBI?

[Read the full text here, at TheHill]

Third, Comey used an unusual verbal formulation in discussing classified information. This is what he said:

“Only a small number of the emails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information.”

He did not explain what he meant by the words “bore markings.” Does this mean that they were stamped “classified”? Or does it mean that there were indications within the text of the emails that would show that it was in fact classified? The confusion was exacerbated by Comey’s next sentence in which he said the following:

“But even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject is classified are obligated to protect it.”

Comey’s use of the words “marked classified” seems to suggest that there is a distinction between emails that were marked “classified” and emails that “bore markings indicating the presence of classified information.”

This use of different verbal formulations suggests that none of the emails were actually marked “classified.” I may be wrong in that surmise, but it is certainly suggested by how Comey used these different formulations. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] OH YES THEY DID: Harvard Law Protestors Tear Down Free Speech Signs

Harvard Law Protesters voted to remove all signs on their “occupied” portion of campus that were not approved by their plenary committee. Over 50 signs were removed, including these free speech fliers.

Dave Huber reports:

The Harvard group “Reclaim Harvard Law,” which has been occupying the Law School’s Caspersen Student Center for over a month, claims it has jurisdiction over the building which they have renamed “Belinda Hall.”

After student Bill Barlow had put up flyers at Caspersen/Belinda which denounced Reclaim as anti-free speech, group members promptly took them down.freespeech-SamGraham-flickr-370x242

Reclaim leader AJ Clayborne, who personally had removed some of Barlow’s flyers, said that anything that goes up in Belinda Hall “must be approved by Reclaim first”:

“Belinda Hall has been reclaimed by Reclaim HLS for the purpose of creating an anti-racist environment for all and, accordingly, has a new governing body to protect that cause in a way that the institution’s existing structure, including DOS, has not. Anything that violates anti-racist values has no place in Belinda Hall.”

Barlow’s first set of signs compared the (anti-free speech) policies of Donald Trump to those of Reclaim. But “[a]fter learning about Harvard’s 501(c)(3) obligations, which could bar signs referencing Trump, [he] created new signs void of political content.”

Clayborne and Reclaim removed those signs, too…(read more)

Source: thecollegefix.com 


Alan Dershowitz: ‘Forget about my standard or yours. By his own standard he is an abject failure when it comes to dealing with Iran’

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Exclusive interview with liberal lawyer and lifelong Democrat says Obama was ‘checkmated’. 

Paul Miller writes: The night the Iran nuclear deal was announced was a sleepless one for Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, utterly distraught by the terms of the agreement.

“People want to read about the deal. People want to be informed; they want to read the actual text of the deal. They want an informed judgment as to what’s good about it, what’s bad about it. There are some positive elements, but in my view most of the elements are quite negative and it virtually assures that Iran will get the bomb within a decade.”

“I got up and emailed my eBook publisher and said I have an idea. What if I do an eBook that could be out in time for the congressional debate? He thought it was a great idea,” Dershowitz explained in an exclusive interview with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. “He gave me two weeks to write it. He got it in eleven days.”

Fears of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon have haunted supporters of Israel and advocates of Middle East peace for over a decade, stoked by frequent public reminders by back-to-back regimes of the Islamic Republic that their goal is the annihilation of the Jewish State.

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“All of this has been said by Obama himself. When Obama first set out the red lines, he specified 24/7 inspections – we didn’t get that. He set out that Iran would never have nuclear weapons – we didn’t get that. He set out to end the nuclear facility at Fordow – we didn’t get that. He has crossed his own red lines at least three times.”

“This book took me less than two weeks to write and ten years to research, so I’ve been thinking about and writing about this potentially for ten years,” explained Dershowitz. “I wrote my first long article about this in 2005. I had my ideas and I’ve been following the deal very closely. As soon as the deal was announced, I read it and annotated it, and the pages appear as an appendage to the book.”

“The cynical theory, which seems to be supported by the data, is that once he was out of politics, that is, once he couldn’t run again and once the House and the Senate were firmly in the hands of Republicans, he was going to do what he always wanted to do and he was less than completely candid with those of us whom he told that the military option was on the table and that Iran would never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.”

Dershowitz explains that he has been writing and lecturing about the threat of a nuclear Iran for over a decade. He has discussed the 41Gl-0kahwL._SL250_subject directly with President Obama.

[Order Alan Dershowitz’s book “The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes? from Amazon.com]

Fifteen days after Dershowitz decided to write “The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes?. it was released on Kindle and the following day was the number one international Kindle best seller.

“The other theory is that he genuinely changed his mind when he saw that Iran had an opening for negotiations. And I leave it to the reader to judge which of those theories is true.”

“People want to read about the deal. People want to be informed; they want to read the actual text of the deal. They want an informed judgment as to what’s good about it, what’s bad about it,” said Dershowitz. “There are some positive elements, but in my view most of the elements are quite negative and it virtually assures that Iran will get the bomb within a decade.”

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“He took the military option off the table, and that was an extraordinarilynaïve and wrong thing to do because that allowed the Iranians to negotiate with us as equals. And I’m not the only one who has said this.” 

Dershowitz, who has been called by Newsweek “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” wrote his latest book not just to educate the public, but to have it serve as a call to action with the hope that citizens will contact their representatives and encourage them to vote against the Iran deal.

“Many liberal Democrats I’ve spoken to believe we made a tragic negotiating mistake, that what we should have done was said to the Iranians: Look—You’re never, ever going to be able to develop nuclear weapons. That’s American policy, and we’ll stop you, whatever it takes.”

“I wrote the book, keeping in mind people I’ve known for years, Senator [Chuck] Schumer, Senator [Elizabeth] Warren, Senator [Ed] Markey, Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand, various United States senators, Democrats and also some Republicans,” Dershowitz explained. “Clearly I want to influence the outcome of their vote by engaging directly with the senators and congressmen, first with my own writing and ideas. Second, by encouraging their constituents to read it and write to them, call them and urge them to do the right thing.”

[Read the full text here, at the Observer]

He added, “This is not merely an academic book for posterity. It was designed to affect real policies in real time.”

Dershowitz explains that he has been writing and lecturing about the threat of a nuclear Iran for over a decade. He has discussed the subject directly with President Obama. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Taishi Kangyi’: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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Why Aggrieved Chinese Citizens and Chinese Police Are Fighting Over Corpses

Yaqiu Wangwangyaqiu writes: On the morning of March 16, 48-year-old Huang Shunfang went to her local hospital located in Fanghu Township in the central Chinese province of Henan. Her doctor diagnosed her with gastritis, gave her a dose of antacids through an IV, and sent her on her way. Huang died suddenly that afternoon. In the hours after her death, Huang’s family went to the hospital for an explanation and was told by the hospital leadership that “the hospital is where people die,” according to a witness’ account of the incident.

“The corpse is the most sensitive… People who have ulterior motives use the dead body to pressure the government… Onlookers, out of curiosity and sympathy, encircle the corpse forming a large crowd. If the corpse is not removed in time, a mass incident can break out at any time…”

Incensed, Huang’s family visited the local public security bureau and the health bureau, both to no avail. Four days later, on March 20, after rejecting the hospital’s offer of compensation of RMB 5,000 ($800), the family placed Huang’s corpse outside the gate of the hospital in protest. Soon, over a hundred policemen swooped in to take the body away, beating and detaining Huang’s relatives who tried to resist them.

An illustration from ‘The Washing Away of Wrongs,’ first published in 1247

An illustration from ‘The Washing Away of Wrongs,’ first published in 1247

“’Taishi kangyi,’ or ‘carrying the corpse to protest,’ is a practice with deep roots in Chinese history. Since late imperial times, people have employed it when judicial systems failed to provide a reliable channel of redress for injustice.”

A week earlier, at noon on March 9, during a forced residential demolition operation orchestrated by the township government in Jiangkou Township, Anhui province, 37-year-old Zhang Guimao died when his chicken coop collapsed on him. That afternoon, Zhang’s relatives, along with more than a hundred villagers, carried Zhang’s body into the township government office compound to demand an explanation. At midnight that day, all the streetlights suddenly went dark. Around two hundred riot police carrying shields appeared on the scene to take the body away to the crematorium, detaining at least six people in the process.

 “Especially with the rise of social media in the past ten years or so, families of the dead can post photos or videos online. The rapid spread of such information can turn up the heat on local governments.”

“Taishi kangyi,” or “carrying the corpse to protest,” is a practice with deep roots in Chinese history. Since late imperial times, people have employed it when judicial systems failed to provide a reliable channel of redress for injustice. These days, corpses are dragged into all manner of disputes involving medical malpractices, forced housing demolitions, vendor’s tussles with local patrols, and compensations for workplace accidents.

[Read the full text here, at ChinaFile]

When an accidental death occurs, citizens use the corpse to draw attention and invite sympathy from the wider public, all in an effort to put pressure on the authorities and to render a just outcome. This “highlights the distrust people feel about autopsies or investigations conducted by government organs and China’s justice system,” says Teng Biao, a civil-rights lawyer and visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. “Especially with the rise of social media in the past ten years or so, families of the dead can post photos or videos online. The rapid spread of such information can turn up the heat on local governments.”

Villagers carry the coffin of a man killed after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Lushan, Sichuan Province on April 22, 2013.  Clogged roads, debris and landslides impeded rescuers as they battled to find survivors of a powerful earthquake in mountainous southwest China that has left at least 188 dead.                  AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON        (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Villagers carry the coffin of a man killed after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Lushan, Sichuan Province on April 22, 2013. Clogged roads, debris and landslides impeded rescuers as they battled to find survivors of a powerful earthquake in mountainous southwest China that has left at least 188 dead. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

“A common scene across China today pits families, friends, and local residents barricading a dead body in concentric circles against police, often numbering in the hundreds and armed with batons and shields.” 

It’s that heat that perhaps has driven Chinese law enforcement to ever-more coordinated and deliberate attempts to curb corpse-keeping. A common scene across China today pits families, friends, and local residents barricading a dead body in concentric circles against police, often numbering in the hundreds and armed with batons and shields. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz Rips Charges Against Baltimore Cops: ‘Sad Day for Justice’

Josh Feldman writes: Alan Dershowitz really went after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby today for charging the six cops involved in the death of Freddie Gray, saying it was entirely based on politics and “crowd control.”

Dershowitz lamented that “this is a very sad day for justice” and told Steve Malzberg that Mosby acted out of a “desire to prevent riots.” It will be “virtually impossible,” he predicted, for the six officers involved to get a fair trial. Read the rest of this entry »


A Reminder from Alan Dershowitz: President is not Commander in Chief of Foreign Policy

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

To be sure, when politicians call our president the ‘Commander-in-Chief,’ they are using that term rhetorically. But it is a dangerous rhetoric, because it suggests a concentration, rather than a division, of power

images Alan M. Dershowitz writes: Politicians should stop referring to the President of the United States as “the Commander-in-Chief,” as he is often referred to. Most recently, Hillary Clinton, whom I admire, said the following about Republican senators who wrote an open letter to Iran:

“Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the Commander-in-Chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy.”

But the president is not the Commander-in-Chief for purposes of diplomatic negotiations. This characterization mistakenly implies that President Obama — or any president — is our Commander, and that his decisions should receive special deference. This is a misreading of our constitution, which creates a presidency that is subject to the checks and balances of co-equal branches of the government. The president is only the commander in chief of “the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.” This provision was intended to assure civilian control over the military and to serve as a check on military power.

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“As President, he cannot even declare war, though he can decide how a war should be fought after Congress declares it. He cannot make a treaty without the approval of 2/3 of the Senate. He cannot appoint Ambassadors without the consent of the Senate. And he cannot terminate sanctions that were imposed by Congress, without Congress changing the law.”

The only people he is empowered to command are soldiers, sailors and members of the militia — not ordinary citizens.

This important limitation on the president’s power is highly relevant to the current debate about Congress having the authority to check the president’s decision to make the deal that is currently being negotiated with Iran. The Constitution is clear about this. The President is not the Commander-in-Chief of our nation’s foreign policy. When he is involved in “high-stakes international diplomacy,” his involvement is not as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, but rather as negotiator-in-chief, whose negotiations are subject to the checks and balances of the other branches.

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“Our Constitution separates the powers of government — the power to command — into three co-equal branches. The armed forces are different: power is vested in one commander-in-chief.”

As President, he cannot even declare war, though he can decide how a war should be fought after Congress declares it. He cannot make a treaty without the approval of 2/3 of the Senate. He cannot appoint Ambassadors without the consent of the Senate. And he cannot terminate sanctions that were imposed by Congress, without Congress changing the law. Were he the “Commander-in-Chief” of our country — as Putin is of Russia or as Ali Khamenei is of Iran — he could simply command that all of these things be done. But our Constitution separates the powers of government — the power to command — into three co-equal branches. The armed forces are different: power is vested in one commander-in-chief.

“The only people he is empowered to command are soldiers, sailors and members of the militia — not ordinary citizens.”

To be sure, when politicians call our president the “Commander-in-Chief,” they are using that term rhetorically. But it is a dangerous rhetoric, because it suggests a concentration, rather than a division, of power. Military metaphors are as inappropriate in a democracy as is martial law, which does empower the executive to act as the commander of all people, but only in cases of extreme emergency. Read the rest of this entry »


Low-Age Mile-High Club Membership: Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’

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Bill Clinton took repeated trips on the “Lolita Express“—the private passenger jet owned by billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein—with an actress in softcore porn movies whose name appears in Epstein’s address book under an entry for “massages,” according to flight logbooks obtained by Gawker and published today for the first time. The logs also show that Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a “potential co-conspirator” in his crimes.

“Clinton shared Epstein’s plane with Kellen and Maxwell on at least 11 flights in 2002 and 2003—before any of the allegations against them became public—according to the pilots’ logbooks, which have surfaced in civil litigation surrounding Epstein’s crimes.”

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to one count of soliciting underage girls for sex (and one count of adult solicitation), for which he served just over a year in county jail. But sprawling local, state, and federal investigations into the eccentric investor’s habit of paying teen girls for “massages”—sessions during which he would allegedly penetrate girls with sex toys, demand to be masturbated, and have intercourse—turned up a massive network of victims, including 35 female minors whom federal prosecutors believed he’d sexually abused. He has reportedly settled lawsuits from more than 30 “Jane Doe” victims since 2008; the youngest alleged victim was 12 years old at the time of her abuse.

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Epstein’s predatory past, and his now-inconvenient relationships with a Who’s Who of the Davos set, hit the front pages again earlier this month when one of his victims, Virginia Roberts, claimed in a federal court filing that Epstein recruited her as a “sex slave” at the age of 15 and “sexually trafficked [her] to politically-connected and financially-powerful people,” including Prince Andrew and attorney Alan Dershowitz. (The latter, the filing claimed, had sex with the victim “on private planes”; Dershowitz vigorously denies the charges, as does Prince Andrew.)

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Two female associates of Epstein—the socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein’s former assistant Sarah Kellen—have been repeatedly accused in court filings of acting as pimps for him, recruiting and grooming young girls into their network of child sex workers, and frequently participating in sex acts with them. Kellen in tqm84bmbfbhdqdkmxiou-1particular was believed by detectives in the Palm Beach Police Department, which was the first to start unraveling the operation, to be so deeply involved in the enterprise that they prepared a warrant for her arrest as an accessory to molestation and sex with minors. In the end, she was never arrested or charged, and federal prosecutors granted her immunity in a 2007 non-prosecution agreement that described her as a “potential co-conspirator” in sex trafficking.

Maxwell, the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has been accused by Roberts of photographing Epstein’s victims “in sexually explicit poses and [keeping] the child pornography on her computer,” and “engag[ing] in lesbian sex with the underage females she procured for Epstein.” She has denied the allegations in the past. Read the rest of this entry »


Ruled Accidental: Hoffman Died From Toxic Overdose of Drugs, Medical Examiner Reports

hoffman-hatched-screenActor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a toxic mix of drugs including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, the medical examiner’s office has determined.

The medical examiner also ruled Hoffman’s death an accident.

[Alan Dershowitz: No, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Dealer Isn’t a Murderer]

The 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor died Feb. 2 at his West Village home of an apparent heroin overdose.

[See also: Hoffman’s Deadly Brand of Heroin: ‘Ace of Spades’]

Hoffman was found with a syringe in his arm and dozens of packets of heroin in his apartment.

[See also: Glamour JunkiesThe Culture of Heroin Addiction by Kevin D. Williamson]

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, the versatile actor reportedly checked himself into rehab for 10 days last year after relapsing in 2012.

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NBC New York

Read the rest of this entry »


Gillespie: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Heroin Problem Does Not Constitute a Crisis

A copy of a New York Times Magazine with a photo of movie actor Philip Seymour Hoffman on the cover in a memorial in front of his apartment building in New York City, on Feb. 3, 2014. Carlo Allegri / Reuters

 Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Nick Gillespie  writes:  The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has given rise to a massive outpouring of grief and sadness by his fans and admirers. It has also given rise to an equally massive outpouring of patently false and exaggerated stories about the increase in heroin use and the need to do something — anything! — about it. This is not just misguided but dangerous: High-profile drug deaths in the past have lead to major public policy mistakes — think mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines — that can take decades to correct.

[See also Alan Dershowitz: No, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Dealer Isn’t a Murderer]

Even before the inconclusive results of Hoffman’s autopsy were made public, news outlets such as MSNBC were already running stories about “America’s Heroin Problem,” “the rapidly growing crisis of heroin,” and quoting “law enforcementofficials [who] believe the spike in heroin use is driven by addicts becoming priced out of more expensive prescription opiate-based pain killers.”

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[See also VIDEO: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (Extended) Drug Scene from Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”]

hoffman-streetsYet as my colleague at Reason, Jacob Sullum, was quick to document, the government statistics that track heroin use show absolutely no increase in regular use of the drug. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (the latest available), 0.1 percent of Americans ages 12 and older reported using the drug in the past month. That’s exactly the same percentage that used in 2002 and there has been no significant fluctuation in the intervening decade. The Monitoring the Future Study, which tracks behavior of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, shows annual use of heroin declining across the board from a decade ago.

[Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Deadly Brand of Heroin: ‘Ace of Spades’]

Much of the confusion stems from journalists and their sources using raw numbers without controlling for population growth or mistaking lifetime use for anything approaching a habit (both errors are on display in this “Journalist’s Resource” put out by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy).

Read the rest of this entry »


Alan Dershowitz: No, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Dealer Isn’t a Murderer

1306017445490.cachedThose who sold heroin to Philip Seymour Hoffman are morally culpable for his death. But they shouldn’t be legally culpable

ace-of-spadesAlan M. Dershowitz  writes:  Whenever a celebrity dies of a self-administered drug, particularly heroin, efforts are made to locate and prosecute those who provided the drug.  As I wrote back in the 1980’s, following the overdose death of comedian John Belushi and the prosecution of Cathy Smith, the woman who provided him the drugs, “That issue [holding the supplier criminally responsible for the death] seems to capture public attention primarily when famous people overdose.  The tragic deaths of basketball player Len Bias and the late Robert Kennedy’s son David generated demands for prosecution of the suppliers.  The daily street deaths of dozens of faceless addicts rarely even provoke an investigation.”

 [Professor Dershowitz’s latest book: Taking the Stand:  My Life in the Law at Amazon]

Now the stakes have gotten higher as some states have applied the “felony-murder” law to such deaths, while others have enacted specific statues turning the criminal act of providing drugs into a homicide if death results.

“But there is no acceptable moral distinction between two dealers who sell the same product, in the same way, to the same people—and one of their customers, for reasons unrelated to anything the dealers did, happens to die”

It is easy to understand why the public demands homicide prosecutions against drug providers whose product caused the death of a beloved celebrity like Philip Seymour Hoffman.  A person lies dead; someone must bear responsibility for his death. It is easy to scapegoat the drug provider.  But is it fair to single out the provider whose heroin happened to have killed a celebrity (or anyone else)?

Read the rest of this entry »


Dershowitz Says D’Souza Case ‘Smacks of Selective Prosecution’

D&D

Jacob Gersham writes:  Alan Dershowitz may be phasing out his days as a Harvard law professor. But that doesn’t mean he’s stepping off the pedestal.

His latest topic of concern: Dinesh D’Souza. Mr. Dershowitz thinks the federal campaign fraud charges against the conservative filmmaker and author are an example of “selective prosecution.”

Conservative commentator and best-selling author, Dinesh D’Souza exits the Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York last week. Reuters

Conservative commentator and best-selling author, Dinesh D’Souza exits the Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York last week.
Reuters

Weighing in on the case Friday in an interview with Law Blog, Mr. Dershowitz was withering in his opinion of the Manhattan U.S. attorney office’s prosecution of Mr. D’Souza, who pleaded not guilty last week to making illegal campaign contributions to a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in 2012.

“The idea of charging him with a felony for this doesn’t sound like a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “I can’t help but think that [D’Souza’s] politics have something to do with it. . . . It smacks of selective prosecution.” Read the rest of this entry »


Alan Dershowitz Rises to the Defense of Dinesh D’Souza

D&D

Paul A. Rahe  writes:  Not much attention has been paid in the mainstream press to the arrest and indictment of Dinesh D’Souza for supposedly breaking the campaign finance laws by reimbursing those whose money he collected in his role as a bundler for Wendy Long‘s run for the Senate in New York in 2012.

But then the same mainstream press has been notably reluctant to look into the charges that the IRS persecuted Tea-Party groups and that Erich Holder’s Department of Justice whitewashed the affair.

This administration’s partisan use of prosecutorial discretion to harass conservatives and Republicans more generally is one of the great scandals of our time. But, to be fair to the Obama administration, so is the partisan bias of the mainstream press.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Hammer: How to Fight Academic Bigotry

TheHammerCharles Krauthammer  writes:  For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.

Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange.

Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?

And of Iran, which hangs political, religious and even sexual dissidents and has no academic freedom at all? Or Egypt, where Christians are being openly persecutedOr Turkey, Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, massively repressive China and Russia?

Read the rest of this entry »


Dershowitz: Iran Deal Could Be a ‘Chamberlain Moment’

 (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Joel B. Pollak writes: Harvard professor and noted civil rights and international law expert Alan Dershowitz criticized the nuclear deal with Iran sharply on Sunday, saying that it “could become a Chamberlain moment” for President Barack Obama.

“I don’t think that this deal was motivated by any anti-Israel sentiment,” Dershowitz told Breitbart News. “I think that both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry believe that the deal is in the best interest of the U.S. and Israel. But I think they’re dead wrong.

“When you do a risk-benefit analysis, the possibility that this will actually result in ending Iran’s nuclear weapons program is probably in the range of 10%, and the risk that it will increase their likelihood of moving quickly toward developing a nuclear weapon is in the 20% to 30% range. The rest is uncertainty.

“I think it was a very bad example of negotiating from weakness rather than strength. The U.S. had Iran where we wanted them, in a much weakened position. And instead of continuing the pressure we sent three messages. 1. Sanctions are over. We are going to eliminate some now–it’s only a few billion dollars’ worth, but we are going to send a message to China and others that have been dying to so business with Iran that it’s OK. And we will never get them back to that point of pressure. 2. I think we effectively took the military option off the table and made it much more difficult for Israel to pursue a military option in the next several months. 3. We gave them a yellow light, at least, if not quite a green one, as to continuing onto certain aspects of developing nuclear weapons–triggering devices and material that could be easily transposed to military use.

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