Monday, January 20, 2020

The Chew Toy That Is Alan Dershowitz

So I saw this; and in the same article, this:
In which interview Dershowitz said this:

“I’m here to present a constitutional argument the way I did in the Clinton impeachment and the way I argued when I was on the national board of the ACLU in the Nixon administration."

“I believe there's been no impeachable offense. So I think that both of the articles of impeachment violate the Constitution. Abuse of power is something that's been a charge against every president since John Adams, and the framers explicitly rejected broad criteria for impeachment, such as maladministration. And I think concluded with that would be abuse of power. The second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, is just completely made up. President [Trump] didn't obstruct Congress by simply demanding that there be court orders before subpoenas are complied with, and one can argue that the speaker of the House is obstructing the Senate by not sending the articles of impeachment. I don't think those kinds of metaphorical accusations should rise to the level of impeachment, and I don't think they do as a matter of constitutional law.

“And I've said the same thing going back to the impeachment of [Richard] Nixon, the impeachment of [Bill] Clinton. I've been very opposed to impeachment from the 1970s. I was on the national board of the [American Civil Liberties Union] and I opposed the ACLU seeking the impeachment of Richard Nixon, even though I personally favor the impeachment of Nixon. I thought they should be there defending his constitutional rights and opposing his being named as an unindicted co-conspirator, which doesn't give anybody the opportunity to prove their innocence. So I put civil liberties before impeachment, unlike the ACLU, which puts politics before civil liberties.”

And while I didn't find anything about Dershowitz' claim on the Nixon impeachment, everybody and his dog has by now seen this:

And frankly, in light of Lawrence Tribe's critique of Dershowitz claimed support for his legal position on Trump's impeachment, I call "bullshit."  I simply don't believe he made any such argument about Nixon's impeachment.

It's not that Dershowitz can't be believed, it's that the burden of proof is on him.  Unlike, say, Professor Tribe, Dershowitz has no authority in himself, left.  He has to support his statements with something other than an appeal to his own biography.

And it's not that Trump has corrupted Dershowitz; it's that, like Trump, Dershowitz is convinced his own fame is his imprimatur.  But fame yields neither authority or integrity; indeed, it strips those two away as the fame increases attention, and the attention proves the person a human being after all.  Usually a very flawed and irresponsible human being, famous for reasons their every continuing attempt at prolonging their fame, undermines.  Alan Dershowitz has not been corrupted by Trump; he and Trump are two peas in a pod.

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