Newsbriefs: Dersh on torture, Miss HLS, and Summers on anti-Semitism

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Dershowitz gives torture the thumbs up

Professor Alan Dershowitz continues to speak out on the controversial issue of using torture in terrorist cases and other sticky situations. The high-profile prof appeared on The Today Show this week to argue that torture could become a judicially-sanctioned procedure, similar to a search warrant, where a judge could officially sign off on its use.

During an earlier conversation with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, Dershowitz said, “We can’t just close our eyes and pretend we live in a pure world…. If anybody had the ability to prevent the events of Sept. 11. . . they would have gone to whatever length…. The problem becomes, where do we draw that line?” Dershowitz used the example of a ticking bomb scenario, where the use of torture could help elicit vital information leading to the bomb’s whereabouts. Students who have Dershowitz in class should take note that his comments give a whole new meaning to the phrase “being in the hot seat.”

Miss America: Already in America, coming to HLS

There was something actually unique about the crowning of Miss America on Sunday. Erika Harold, the contestant from Illinois, was recently accepted to Harvard Law School but postponed coming to the Law School in order to compete in the pageant. Harold, who plans to fight youth violence during her upcoming national speaking tour as Miss America, received a $50,000 scholarship for Saturday night’s big win.

To put this in context for law students, this means that Harold paraded her body and mind before a critical panel of judges in order to barely cover one year of law school expenses. Well, she’s a lot better off there than at the Financial Aid office.

Summers slams alleged anti-Semitism at the University

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers spoke out last week against what he saw as growing anti-Semitism at Harvard University and elsewhere. His remarks came in response to growing demands that Harvard remove all Israeli investments from its endowment.

Summers said that he was making his remarks “not as president of the university but as a concerned member of our community.” Earlier this year, nearly 600 professors from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology signed a petition urging Harvard and M.I.T. to divest from Israel. Some of those who signed the petition argued that Summers’ remarks were an attempt to cut off debate on the subject.

Prof. Dershowitz, a vocal opponent of divestiture, called in this week’s Harvard Crimson for a debate with Winthrop House Master Paul Hanson, who signed a pro-divestment petition.

“Those who sign the divestment petition should be ashamed of themselves,” Dershowitz wrote in a Crimson opinion column. “If they are not, it is up to others to shame them.”

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