Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

FAIR IS FAIR, PART TWO


Alert students of the higher reaches of the intellectual sphere will have seen the distressing stories about the distinguished Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.  It seems that Professor Dershowitz, who summers on Martha’s Vineyard, has been shunned lately by the elite inhabitants of that storied vacation retreat who, because of his defense of President Trump, have stopped inviting him to their dinner parties.  Dershowitz, exhibiting admirable restraint, has compared this behavior to McCarthyism.  But I think a more substantive legal argument can be advanced.

It is of course second nature to a famous constitutional law expert like Dershowitz that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution “prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments.”  What is more, the Supreme Court has ruled that the “cruel and unusual punishments” clause applies to the states as well.   It is beyond dispute that banishment from a Martha’s Vineyard dinner party is cruel and unusual, and it is surely a very small reach indeed to extend the constitutional prohibition from states to vacation resorts.

I am no scholar of the law, but I think Professor Dershowitz has a legitimate cause of action.  Inasmuch as such suits can be costly, and Dershowitz, as an emeritus Harvard professor, is compelled to live on whatever pension that financially strapped institution provides, I propose that all fair-minded defenders of the rule of law launch a gofundme effort.  I am prepared to commit a penny to the effort, and if one hundred million good Americans will join me, Professor Dershowitz will have the beginnings of a defense fund.

I mean, fair is fair.

3 comments:

LFC said...

Well played. I'd missed this story.

Judy Jones said...

I am laughing so hard!! It is great pleasure to have met you and be allowed into your "blog world."

Anonymous said...

Alan Dershowitz has long passed his sell by date. As Prof Wolff said elsewhere about somebody else, Dershowitz needs to be put to pasture.