Category: Academics

Avenatti Found Guilty In New York Fraud Trial

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Michael Avenatti was convicted this afternoon by a jury of all three charges in the extortion trial related to demands for up to $25 million from Nike. I post this news with a great sense of personal sadness. Michael was one of my students and research assistants. He was an outstanding student and one of the most talented trial attorneys in the country. He now faces two other federal trials and significant jail time.

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Florida Man Arrested After Plowing Into Republican Voter Registration Booth And Then Videotaping This Own Destruction

This weekend in Jacksonville, police arrested 27-year-old Gregory Timm, who drove into a Republican voting registration tent, destroyed it, and then jumped out to celebrate his attack. This is just the latest in a long line of attacks and violent speech directed against conservatives on and off campuses. This incident follows a student screaming at young Republicans on campus at Arizona State that they should all have their throats slit.

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Pennsylvania Teachers Call Police On Six-Year-Old Girl Who Pointed Finger Gun In Class

We have yet another insane application of the “zero tolerance” policies that schools continue to apply despite widespread condemnation. Valley Forge Elementary School is the latest educators to traumatize a harmless child in the name of protecting themselves and their school. The victim this time is a six-year-old girl with Down syndrome who pretended to shoot her teacher with her finger. The teacher apparently went into full alert with the school to protect herself from make believe bullets fired by a toddler from a make believe gun. The police were called and the Margot Gaines now has a police report as a victory for zero tolerance policies nationwide.

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Tribe: The Choice is Now Between Witnesses and Dictatorship

While I disagreed with Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz on this theory of impeachment, I recently praised his presentation in the Senate as a cogent and well-constructed case for the defense. Clearly, his colleague Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe does not share my view. He denounced Dershowitz’s argument as “remarkably absurd and extreme and dangerous.” In this presentation, Dershowitz defended his own switch on the issue of the prerequisite of criminality for impeachment by noting that Tribe had also switched his view. Tribe went further to declare that the choice was now between witnesses and “dictatorship.” Even as someone who favors witnesses, I fail to see the imminent danger of dictatorship on the issue. Indeed, I understand the reluctance over witnesses aside from any desire to protect Trump. I believe senators have a legitimate interest in not creating precedent allowing the House to impeachment on such a slipshod and incomplete record. That is why I proposed an alternative solution.

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In Defense of Dershowitz: Critics Slam Harvard Professor For Ethical Representation and Intellectual Opinions

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Alan Dershowitz is hardly someone in need of the defense of others. However, there is a disturbing level of acrimony and personal attacks directed at the retired Harvard professor after he agreed to speak in defense of President Donald Trump. As I tweeted last night, I have strong disagreements with Dershowitz over his theory that impeachment articles must be based on criminal acts. However, I thought his presentation last night was outstanding. It was powerfully presented and he made some compelling points. While we disagree, it is a presentation that everyone should have watched. The shame is that few people are watching and even fewer are listening. To make matters worse, liberals (who pride themselves on supporting individual rights) are attacking Dershowitz for defending unpopular individuals like O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein. That is what criminal defense attorneys do. They represent accused and often highly unpopular individuals. It is the rankest form of attack to suggest that a lawyer defending a client is somehow tainted by the crimes alleged in the case.

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The White House Hail Mary: Dershowitz To Argue That Trump Impeachment Is Unconstitutional For Lack Of A Crime

Today we are likely to hear the constitutional arguments in defense of President Donald Trump, including the highly controversial theory of Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz that an impeachment must be based on an alleged crime. I have previously discussed my disagreement with Dershowitz’s use of the trial of Andrew Johnson to support this claim.

Below is a column that ran in the BBC on my long-standing opposition to that theory.

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Study: Professors Donate To Democrats Over Republicans By A 95:1 Ratio

Diversity in hiring is the top priority of most colleges and universities. However, the effort to hire more women, minorities, and LGBT individuals notably lacks one group: ideological diversity. It is well-known that most faculty are composed of an overwhelming majority of liberal and democratic members. However, this view, while generally accepted, is largely anecdotal. Now a new study by Heterodox Academy Director of Research Sean Stevens and Brooklyn College Professor Mitchell Langbert claims to have put hard numbers on that lack of diversity. In reviewing records with the Federal Election Commission, they say that they found that professors gave to Democrats over Republicans by a 95:1 ratio.

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Former Drexel Professor Arrested For Spending Nearly $200,000 On Strippers and Other Personal Expenses

download-2We previously discussed the allegations against former Drexel University professor Chikaodinaka Nwankpa, 57, for using $185,000 on adult entertainment and other personal expenses. He has now been charged criminally with theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception.  The charging documents however revealed one curious element. Many of the charges were processed during a window between midnight and 2 a.m.

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Modus Operandi or Old News? Comey Under Investigation In New Leak Probe

Former FBI Director James Comey is back in the news this week after The New York Times  reported late Thursday that he is again under investigation for leaking information to the media. The Justice Department Inspector General previously found that Comey was a leaker and violated FBI policy in his handling of FBI memos, including material  containing the “code name and true identity” of a sensitive source. Now, he is again accused of leaking information. There is an element of a modus operandi in the story since the same academic Comey used in the earlier leaks is also named in this leak, Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman.

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Harvard Professor Lessig Sues New York Times For Defamation

This week seems to be a litigious one for Harvard professors. In addition to the complaint by Dershowitz at Yale, Harvard law professor and liberal political activist Lawrence Lessig is actually suing The New York Times for defamation. While there may be more offered in litigation, the lawsuit on its face seems dubious in establishing that the New York Times ran “false and defamatory” information for him as “clickbait” for readers.

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Dershowitz Complains To Yale Over Professor’s Criticism Of His Claims Of A “Perfect Sex Life”

I have repeatedly objected to the dubious diagnosis offered freely by Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee of President Trump, including recent statements that seemed to combine her political and professional views of the subject. As I discussed in a prior column on the demise of the Goldwater rule, these efforts to diagnose Trump from a distance raise highly disturbing ethical issues. Now Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz has reportedly complained to Yale University after Lee suggested that he, and Trump supporters, display a “shared psychosis” with the president. Dershowitz triggered commentary when, in defense of allegations that he had sex with underaged girls during his association with child molester Jeffrey Epstein, he insisted that he had a “perfect sex life.” (Dershowitz is being sued by a woman who said she was forced by Epstein to have sex with him. It is one of a number of lawsuits currently pending against Dershowitz who has always maintained his innocence). As shown in dozens of prior columns, I oppose efforts to get academics punished or fired at their institutions out of concern for free speech and academic freedom. However, I agree with Dershowitz that Lee’s weaponizing psychiatric evaluations in this political debate is inimical to her school and her profession.

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Nerdgasm: Visiting The Woodrow Wilson Library Room

The Library of Congress has always been my favorite building in Washington (though the Capitol building is a very close second). After decades of working on the Hill, I still find amazing historic rooms tucked away in these buildings. This week, I spoke on impeachment at the Library of Congress next to the Woodrow Wilson library. I had to take a couple pictures to share. It is an amazing room with a breathtaking view of the Capitol dome.

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History and Its Revision: The Use and Misuse Of The Nixon Precedent

Professor Ken Hughes of University of Virginia recently penned a column to denounce the utter partisanship and lack of integrity in Washington as demonstrated by the failure of a single Republican to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump. He did not, of course, view the virtually unanimous vote by Democrats as partisan. Just the Republicans. The reason appears to be the view that the Democrats are right and therefore the Republicans are utter partisan hacks. To make his case, Professor Hughes makes equally selective observations about the history of impeachment, including singling out a line from my testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

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Antifa Critic Barred From Speaking By University of British Columbia

I have previously written about my criticism to Antifa and its anti-free speech agenda, including academics legitimizing efforts to violently curtail free speech on our campuses. It is tragically ironic therefore that the University of British Columbia has cancelled an event by a critic of Antifa, a decision that carries out precisely the goals of this vehemently anti-free speech organization. Portland journalist Andy Ngo was scheduled to speak on campus when the school, reportedly without notice, canceled the event due to an unspecified “concern about the safety and security of our campus community.”

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Yale Psychiatrist Calls On Pelosi To Put “A Mental Health Hold” On Trump

I have previously criticized psychiatrists who have regularly appeared on the air to identify a variety of mental illness that they have observed in President Donald Trump from afar. As I discussed in a prior column on the demise of the Goldwater rule, this is diagnosis without examination and often seems mixed with strong political judgments about Trump’s political positions. Bandy X. Lee, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, has been one of the most outspoken and last week urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to demand some ill-defined “hold” on the president pending psychiatric examination. Her position latest position is utterly bizarre but has been treated as a serious discussion point by some media like Salon magazine.

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