The following articles, except where noted, were originally published in the Keene Sentinel.

Donald Trump Sues the Press, Claiming Defamation

In 1964, the Supreme Court decided a case called New York Times v. Sullivan. That historic decision “constitutionalized” the law of defamation (meaning both libel and slander) by adding First Amendment protections to what had always been considered a common law civil offense, inherited from English law, having nothing [...]

Growing Up Jewish in Claremont and Words for Our Time

* This article appeared in the February 27, 2020 Concord Monitor Every day seems to bring a new report of anti-Semitism – not just in other countries but in the United States as well. And for good reason. Jew hatred has infected our country, in Pittsburgh and Poway synagogues, [...]

The Senate Rules and the King Can Do No Wrong

An old Latin legal maxim says rex non potest peccare. “The king can do no wrong.” Of course, America was founded on the very opposite principle. The preamble of the United States Constitution begins with the words “We the people,” which is in sharp contrast to the Magna Carta, [...]

Section 230 “Safe Harbor” Has Become Unsafe

In 1996, when we were still using “dial up” to go online, Congress passed a law called the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Section 230 of the law immunized internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and YouTube from liability based on online postings. The law says that “no provider [...]

The Presidency and the Power of Inquiry

The power of inquiry goes back at least to the 1600s, when Parliament authorized committees to “send for persons and papers” in order to conduct investigations. In other words, it is older than our Republic, and Congress wasted little time in carrying on the British tradition. In 1792, following [...]

Chief Justice Roberts Will Call Balls, Strikes at Impeachment Trial

The likely impeachment of Donald Trump will be the third presidential impeachment trial in our country’s history. The first two were Presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999. Impeachment in the House needs only a majority vote, while conviction in the Senate requires two-thirds “of the [...]

The Supreme Court’s Busy 2019-20 Term

We are now two weeks into the 2019-20 Supreme Court term, and the Court has already heard several important cases. One of them, from Kansas, will decide whether that state’s abolition of the insanity defense is constitutional. Another will determine the validity of a Louisiana law that abolishes the [...]

Upcoming Supreme Court Cases – A Look Ahead (Part 1)

The first Monday of October marks the beginning of the 2019-20 Supreme Court term. Last year saw some momentous decisions and non-decisions, the former including the Court’s rebuff to the Trump Administration’s attempt to add a “citizenship” question to the 2020 census, the latter including the Court’s refusal to [...]

The Executive Branch Is Powerful, But Still has its Limits

Article II of the Constitution begins with the words “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” These words have always carried great weight, but they have taken on new meaning in the current administration. Just a year ago the Supreme Court [...]

The Sometimes Shifting Alliances of the Justices

Supreme Court opinions are sometimes unanimous. But in the important constitutional cases, the Court is almost always divided. Contrary to popular opinion, these split decisions do not always break down according to the Justices’ “liberal” or “conservative” leanings. Some members of the Court are quite predictable, Justice Thomas foremost [...]

Go to Top