Opinion: Dershowitz: Are congressional investigations of Trump the new McCarthyism? - PressFrom - US
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OpinionDershowitz: Are congressional investigations of Trump the new McCarthyism?

17:50  22 may  2019
17:50  22 may  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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Like Trump , McCarthy had, in the words of Boston lawyer Joseph Welch at the Army- McCarthy hearings of 1954, “no sense of decency.” The Wisconsin senator cared little about the human damage his reckless accusations caused. When he chaired his congressional investigations of supposed

On Tuesday evening, the New York Times reported that Trump asked former FBI director James Some Democratic lawmakers immediately questioned the legality of Trump ’s alleged statements to Articles of impeachment were passed against Richard Nixon by a congressional committee, but

Dershowitz: Are congressional investigations of Trump the new McCarthyism?© Getty Images Alan Dershowitz: Are congressional investigations of Trump the new McCarthyism?

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When I came of age during the 1950s, liberals and civil libertarians were deeply concerned about the abuses of congressional investigations to expose communists and "fellow travelers." Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy was using congressional committees to do his dirty work.

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Alan Dershowitz on Martha's Vineyard, where he said he had been shunned for speaking out against the investigation into President Trump . CreditGabriela Herman for The New York Times. CHILMARK, Mass. — This is what McCarthyism evidently looks like on Martha’s Vineyard.

Dershowitz , an iconic civil libertarian and criminal defense lawyer, who circulates between the liberal redoubts of Miami, New York and the Vineyard, has emerged in the past year as the most distinguished legal defender of Trump . Dershowitz is careful to say, over and over, that he’s not Trump ’s lawyer.

The committee leaders would claim that they had legitimate legislative purposes in subpoenaing actors, professors, and government employees to interrogate them about their past political affiliations. The purported purposes were to legislate more effective controls over communist influence in our government and to conduct oversight of the executive branch. Most liberals and civil libertarians saw through this ruse. The obvious purpose was to expose, embarrass, and unemploy left wing individuals associated with the Communist Party during the 1930s.

My law professor, mentor, and friend at the time, Telford Taylor, the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II, wrote a masterful critique of these bogus congressional hearings entitled "The Grand Inquest." In it he provided an extensive history of the misuse of hearings for partisan and ideological purposes. He called for reform, including judicial oversight of congressional excesses. A young liberal lawyer named Abner Mikva, who later became a distinguished federal judge, wrote a glowing review of the book, though he criticized Taylor for not going far enough and not being enough of a true civil libertarian.

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Alan Dershowitz , a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, has frequented conservative cable news networks to defend President Trump . “I never thought I would see McCarthyism come to Martha’s Vineyard, but I have,” he wrote, of the elite island enclave off Cape Cod where he is a fixture.

The New McCarthyism . A network of right-wing activists on college and high school campuses are targeting Dershowitz , in turn, tried unsuccessfully to prevent the University of California Press from publishing First and foremost, private advocacy groups, not Congressional committees, are by and

It is quite fair to say that back in the day, virtually all liberals and civil libertarians, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, wanted to impose restrictions on the power of Congress to investigate, subpoena, and question individuals for partisan or ideological purposes. Now the shoe is on the other foot. It is the Democrats who are abusing their congressional investigations for partisan and ideological purposes. It is the Democrats who are putting forward the phony arguments about legislative purposes, such as the need for new laws and congressional oversight. It is the Democrats in the House who are determined to misuse their legislative power to gain advantages in the upcoming elections.

Now it is the Republicans who are crying foul and who are claiming that the Democrats are abusing the power of the congressional committees they control. However, no one should be surprised by this shift in attitudes because most people, especially politicians, believe in due process "for me but not for thee." Very few citizens advocate neutral rights for all.

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Dershowitz told the New York Times in an interview published Saturday that he's been calling for Trump "to be treated fairly. Not to have it considered a crime when Despite the backlash Dershowitz has received over his defense of Trump , he told The Times he's enjoyed the debate he's sparked.

Alan Dershowitz Is Just the Latest Public Figure Who Forgot What Shame Feels Like. One is apparently missing out on a dinner party. "I never thought I would see McCarthyism come to I have defended Trump ’s civil liberties, along with those of all Americans, just as I would have defended

The decision by Judge Amit Mehta to authorize broad congressional investigations of the Trump administration and President Trump himself, going back to well before he was a presidential candidate, could easily have been written by a right wing judge in the 1950s. It swallows, whole hog, the claimed legitimate legislative purposes put forward by those committees now led by the Democrats. It goes even further and suggests that a court has no power to probe the real motives behind legislative investigations, so long as the claimed motives are plausible. Under this decision that goes against civil liberties, Congress could investigate any person for any reason as long as it pretends to be doing so for a legitimate legislative purpose. The decision is an open invitation for abuse of power.

During the 1950s, the good old ACLU would be in court challenging abuses of congressional investigatory power, but the current ACLU has one dominant agenda, which is to oppose Trump regardless of the means used and to raise large sums of money based on this agenda. So the ACLU will not side with Trump in court. It will never side with Trump in court, regardless of how abusive congressional committees may become and regardless of how many rights are violated. The ACLU is now part of the problem, not part of the solution, for this rampant abuse of civil liberties.

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Alan Dershowitz is a longtime regular at the Chilmark General Store on Martha’s Vineyard.CreditCreditGabriela Herman for The New York Times. It is an insult to the pernicious virulence and exceptional odiousness of McCarthyism for Mr. Dershowitz , the lawyer and professor

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for The most notable examples of McCarthyism include the so-called investigations conducted by Senator McCarthy Many conservatives equated the New Deal with socialism or Communism, and

Among the most important roles of the federal courts is to serve as a check and balance on the excesses of other branches of government, including the legislature. The courts should look beneath the claimed justifications for investigations of individuals and decide whether these justifications represent the real reasons behind the issuance of subpoenas and other exercises of congressional power. There should be a balancing test to weigh the legitimate interests of Congress against the rights of those targeted by its investigations. Congress should not be given carte blanche, as the decision by Judge Mehta gives it, to investigate anyone and anything for any purpose as long as the committee chairmen can recite the correct words as purported justifications for their actions.

All civil libertarians, whether Democrat, Republican, or independent, should indeed be concerned about abuses of power by congressional committees. Today, Donald Trump and his administration are the targets. Tomorrow, it may be Democrats. The next day, you could be the target.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. His new book is "The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump." You can follow him on Twitter @AlanDersh.

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