Zealous Dems fail to hear out Trump's constitutional rights

Zealous Dems fail to hear out Trump's constitutional rights

Now that my book, “The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” has been published, the efforts to silence me have increased. When National Public Radio announced that I would be interviewed about the book, listeners wrote to demand that I not be given a forum on which to express my views. Radio and CNN host Michael Smerconish received similar complaints, as did bookstores featuring the book.

Many people are so upset with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE — for understandable reasons — that they just do not want to hear, or allow anyone else to hear, a constitutional analysis that may help the president avoid prosecution or impeachment.

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Many of the same people would agree with my constitutional arguments if I were making them on behalf of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House protests extend into sixth day despite rain Clinton: US is 'losing friends and allies' under Trump Justice Dept releases surveillance applications for former Trump aide MORE, had she been elected and Republicans tried to prosecute or impeach her. Indeed, I made similar arguments on behalf of President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMontana governor raises profile ahead of potential 2020 bid Dem senator ties Kavanaugh confirmation vote to Trump-Putin controversy Don't place all your hopes — or fears — on a new Supreme Court justice MORE during the Starr investigation, and my Democratic friends loved my arguments — and loved me, for making them.

Yet, now that the shoe is on the other foot, everything is different. But not for me. I insist on making the same constitutional arguments regardless of who is president. This has led some of my vociferous critics to accuse me of complicity with evil. One professor has even compared me to German intellectuals who helped bring Hitler to power.

It is pure McCarthyism to equate support for a person’s, even a president’s, constitutional rights to complicity in his policies. I oppose President Trump’s policies on immigration, family separation, Charlottesville, gun control, taxation, health care and even breastfeeding. I voted against him, contributed to his opponent and campaigned for her. Yet, I am accused of being complicit in his policies.

This is not the first time such McCarthyite tactics have been deployed to try to stop me from defending the constitutional rights of those with whom I disagree. When I was a college student, I stood up for the rights of communists despite my strong opposition to communism. When I was interviewed for Salon by a self-described, hard-left critic, he went out of his way to thank me for defending his mother who was a communist. Back then, the right-wing McCarthyites accused me of complicity with communism. Today, the left-wing McCarthyites accuse me of complicity with fascism.

To make the point that I would have written the same book had Hillary Clinton been elected president, my publisher produced an alternate cover with the title “The Case Against Impeaching Clinton.” (It also produced a special cover for Martha’s Vineyard: a plain brown paper cover with the real title in tiny print, so people could secretly read it in the beach without being accused of complicity.)

All this may sound humorous or even petty, especially when people focus on Martha’s Vineyard parties or other social events, about which I could care less. They also focus on the fact that the New York Times has four stories about me in the space of a week, despite the reality that I didn’t ask for these stories, but rather just responded to requests from Times reporters for interviews.

Focusing on these petty aspects masks a much larger problem: that efforts to silence me are a symptom of the dangerous time in which we live — a time in which debate is being stifled on university campuses in the name of political correctness (a term coined by the Stalinist regime). Even the ACLU is now prioritizing free speech and due process lower than other partisan issues which earn them more contributions.

That is why, despite attacks, ridicule and efforts to silence me, I will continue to speak up on behalf of the Constitution and civil liberties of all Americans, including our president. As I argue in my book, “If a controversial president is denied constitutional protections, then any citizen can be denied constitutional protections. That’s why this issue is so important to all Americans.”

That is why all Americans should begin listening to each other, should welcome dissenting views, should demand that the marketplace of ideas be kept open, and should act civilly toward each other, even if we disagree.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. He is the author of “Trumped Up: How Criminalizing Politics is Dangerous to Democracy” and “The Case Against Impeaching Trump.” He is on Twitter @AlanDersh and Facebook @AlanMDershowitz.