Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why Professor Dershowitz Rocks

The challenge. This time to Scalia on his dissent, blogged about a couple of days ago by one of our favorite readers:

I hereby challenge Justice Scalia to a debate on whether Catholic doctrine permits the execution of a factually innocent person who has been tried, without constitutional flaw, but whose innocence is clearly established by new and indisputable evidence. Justice Scalia is always willing to debate issues involving religious teachings. He has done so, for example, with the great Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, and with others as well. He also has debated me at the Harvard Law School. Although I am neither a rabbi nor a priest, I am confident that I am right and he is wrong under Catholic Doctrine. Perhaps it takes chutzpah to challenge a practicing Catholic on the teachings of his own faith, but that is a quality we share.
I invite him to participate in the debate at Harvard Law School, at Georgetown Law School, or anywhere else of his choosing. The stakes are high, because if he loses—if it is clear that his constitutional views permitting the execution of factually innocent defendants are inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church—then, pursuant to his own published writings, he would have no choice but to conform his constitutional views to the teachings of the Catholic Church or to resign from the Supreme Court.

Dersh is one of the best debaters around as is Scalia. I would pay an awful lot to see this matchup. Hat Tip: ATL.

UPDATE -- I just emailed with Dersh and asked him whether he had ever debated a Supreme Court Justice before and he said yes -- he debated Scalia in his class a few years back (he mentions that debate in the article linked to above). I also asked him what he thought his most famous debate was and he said probably his debate with Rabbi Meir David Kahane:

SECOND UPDATE -- A friendly reader points out that it is "interesting that the dissent which sparked the SCOTUS ruling was issued by a former Catholic nun (Judge Barkett)."


Anonymous said...

that would be great on so many levels.

South Florida Lawyers said...

A great column.

Beyond the question of whether habeas reaches cases involving "pure innocence," I was also troubled by the weak reasoning Scalia employed in concluding his own actions are entirely moral. His explanation would get him flunked out of most introductory philosophy classes.

Rumpole said...

With all due respect to "Dersh" that would be shooting fish in a barrel. Who among us wouldn't want to challenge the outrageous proposition that the constitution allows the execution of an innocent individual?

My goal is not to show that Scalia is a bad Catholic. I could care less what he does when he's on his knees. My goal is to show that Scalia is not a true conservative. That when his ox is gored Scalia abandons his philosophy to support his subjective beliefs/desires/concerns. You can see this in Bush v. Gore among other cases that I have highlighted this year. And should Scalia wish to debate me, I would remove the Rumpole mask.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a Paris Hilton v. Scalia debate.



Under the categories of either:

I'm not making this up, or, aren't you glad you chose criminal defense work?

"We may have to scan the dockets of the largest bankruptcies in recent U.S. history to see if any of them produced so much legal work as quickly as the Lehman Brothers Chapter 11 has since the bank filed for bankruptcy.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges filed it second application for legal fees and expenses late Monday, and, if approved, the firm will have crossed the $100 million mark in total billings.

The second application covers four months--Feb. 1 through May 31--and it comes just a few days after Judge James Peck of federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan approved Weil's initial request for about $55 million in fees and expenses for the period of Sept. 15, 2008 through January of this year.

The newest application says Weil lawyers billed more than 86,000 hours over those four months, which breaks down roughly to 700 or so hours per day, seven days a week. Wow. And there is a ton of work to be done. The firm is unwinding tens of thousands of derivatives contracts, trying to track down borrowers who owe Lehman and working on more than a dozen transactions in which Lehman will unload (or has already unloaded) some of its most-prized assets in order to raise cash.

The winner for biggest biller? That would be a collection of six London-based partners billing $1,005 per hour after exchange rates, a smidgen higher than Weil's bankruptcy chair, Harvey Miller, who is billing $950an hour."

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

Scalia and dersh are world class assholes.

Anonymous said...

David has a big mancrush on Dersh.

Anonymous said...

Kahane was expelled from Israel for being too extreme -- the only reason he was not committing open acts of violence was because the State of Israel was established. If it was not, he would have lined up to blow up the King David hotel with the other Israeli "nationalists." In the end, it seems he reaped what he sowed.

Dersh ain't a whole lot better -- he claims to be liberal on one hand and with the other supports torture under certain circumstances. A true Bushy.