Demonizing Defense Lawyers: The True Road to Tyranny

  
Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  2 months ago  •  11 comments

By:   Alan M. Dershowitz

Demonizing Defense Lawyers: The True Road to Tyranny
Demonizing defense lawyers for representing politically incorrect clients and causes is the true road to tyranny.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Demonizing Defense Lawyers: The True Road to Tyranny

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Pictured: Alan Dershowitz speaks in the United States Senate during impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, on January 27, 2020. (Photo by Senate Television via Getty Images)

I grew up in the age of McCarthyism, when lawyers who represented suspected communists were blamed for the alleged sins of their clients. I never expected to see a return to that benighted time, especially by self-proclaimed progressives. But it's back.

I appeared on the Senate floor as constitutional counsel against impeachment, not as a regular, full time counsel for US President Donald J. Trump. As I said in my opening remarks: I come not as a partisan but to " defend the constitution" from partisan misuse. I laid out the constitutional arguments in an academic manner.

Instead of simply disagreeing with my scholarship or offering alternative interpretations of the operative constitutional terms, I was personally demonized, my motives questioned, and my integrity impugned. Even my qualifications as an expert in constitutional law were challenged, despite my having taught courses and seminars, written numerous books and articles and litigated large numbers of cases involving the constitution for more than half a century. None of this would have happened if I had appeared in the same capacity but in favor of Trump's impeachment (or against the impeachment of a Democratic President).

This hypocrisy of this double-standard — by political leaders, media pundits, academics and ordinary folks — is shameful, but done not only without shame but with self-righteousness. It was similar during the McCarthy era of my youth. Now as then, the "cause" — anti-Trumpism today, and anti-communism back then — were seen as so righteous that any means, no matter how unfair, is justified in achieving the end. Outright wilful lying is justified by anti-Trump zealots in the interest of getting rid of Trump.

Consider the way Democratic leaders and the anti-Trump media deliberate distorted what I said in response to a question about quid pro quo. I said that if a president did something entirely legal, with a mixed motive that included his desire to be re-elected, that mixed motive could not turn a legal act into an impeachable offense. I also said that a good motive could not turn a criminal act into a lawful one. These self-evident statements were turned into the lie that I had claimed a president could do anything — even kill his opponent or tamper with voting machines — as long as these felonies were motivated, supposedly in the public interest, by a desire to be re-elected. A CNN talking head, Joe Lockhart, said that what I advocated was comparable to the genocides committed by Hitler and Stalin.

These liars knew full well that what they were saying was demonstrably false but they also knew that if you repeat a lie often enough — on television or on the Senate floor — it will be believed, especially by those who want to believe it. And this lie has been repeated — by the anti-Trump media and Democratic leaders— so often that it is now taken as an incontrovertible truth by many. As a result, I have been demonized by many on the left who refuse to understand why a liberal Democrat would defend the constitutional rights of a controversial Republican president. This is the mirror image of the McCarthyism of my youth, when many on the right could not understand why anti-communist centrist lawyers would defend the rights of communists.

Those lawyers were demonized as I am being today. I have a thick skin, developed over many years of defending controversial and unpopular clients and causes. But I am concerned that young lawyers will be deterred from representing such clients and causes for fear it will destroy their careers. I am hearing that from young lawyers and students.

Demonizing defense lawyers for representing politically incorrect clients and causes is the true road to tyranny.


Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of the book,   Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo , Skyhorse Publishing, November 2019. He is a Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Buzz of the Orient
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

There are many on this very site who are guilty of the tyranny described by Dershowitz.  Just as I feel it when I'm slandered by being called a Trumpster, when Trump is NOT my president and the only thing he has done that I have openly agreed with is his support of Israel.  

 
 
 
WallyW
1.1  WallyW  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    2 months ago

Dershowitz's latest book "Guilt by Accusation" is a frightening eye opener. The next victim could be you or me.

His and Kavanaugh's being falsely accused are but two well known recent examples

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
2  Vic Eldred    2 months ago

They are worse than McCarthy ever was.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
3  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

As I will be unable to moderate this seed for the next 9 to 10 hours, it is locked and will be reopened no more than 10 hours from now.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

Now unlocked so the liberals and Democrats here can now crucify a liberal Democrat who had voted for Hillary Clinton, for doing his job by defending the constitutional rights of the sitting POTUS.  Somehow it reminds me of something that was reputed to have happened a couple of millenia ago....

christ-before-pilate-mihaly-munkacsy.jpg

 
 
 
loki12
5  loki12    2 months ago

An oldie, but true today, what do cats and lawyers have in common?

everybody hates them, except for their own.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
5.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  loki12 @5    2 months ago

You want lawyer jokes - here are a few of mine:

What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?       A good start.

Why don't sharks attack the ones at the bottom of the sea?    Professional courtesy.

What's the difference between a lawyer and a prostitute?    The prostitute won't screw you if you're dead. 

And the epitome from English Literature:  "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."  (Henry VI, Part 2 - William Shakespeare)

 
 
 
loki12
5.1.1  loki12  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5.1    2 months ago

I love my lawyer, Married for 34 years.

 
 
 
Tacos!
6  Tacos!    2 months ago
These self-evident statements were turned into the lie that I had claimed a president could do anything — even kill his opponent or tamper with voting machines — as long as these felonies were motivated, supposedly in the public interest, by a desire to be re-elected.

This was particularly reprehensible. And they'll never admit it or apologize to him as he deserves.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
7  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

Locked and will be unlocked in about 9 or 10 hours.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
8  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

Oooops!  Forgot to unlock this seed.  It's now unlocked. 

 
 
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