Alan Dershowitz: Obama Not First President to Selectively Obey Laws

Thursday, 17 Oct 2013 05:31 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Famed civil-rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz says picking and choosing which parts of a federal law to obey — as President Barack Obama is doing with the Affordable Care Act, actually began with George W. Bush.

"Bush, who came up with the notion – or others before him, but he really did it frequently – of a partial veto or a conditional signing the bill, saying, I sign it based on the condition that this is the way that it's interpreted," Dershowitz told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV. 

Story continues below video.

"I don't think the framers intended that kind of presidential power, but look, every one of the framers would be rolling over in their graves if they saw how much power the president of the United States had.

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"They wanted a weak president. They wanted a republic, not a democracy. They didn't even elect the president. He was appointed by electors. They wanted a strong Congress, they wanted a weak Supreme Court, and they wanted a weak presidency."

What eventually formed however was a strong Supreme Court, a strong presidency, and a weak Congress, said Dershowitz, a veteran Harvard law professor.

"So everything has been flipped. We live in a world where executive power has increased almost all over the world and parliamentary systems are suffering and they're moving to a more executive power. So we're seeing a world trend," he said.

Dershowitz is author of the new book, "Taking the Stand, My Life in Law,"  in which he recounts some of his most famous cases, including being part of defense of football great O.J. Simpson, who was accused in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.

Dershowitz said Simpson's high-powered lawyers, who were dubbed the "Dream Team," were actually anything but.

"We didn't have a 'Dream Team' … It was a 'Nightmare Team.' We didn't get along with each other," he said.

"There was a lot of battling and a lot of quibbling … F. Lee Bailey and Bob Shapiro were at each other's throats the whole time and it was a very, very disruptive time."

Dershowitz also recalled how prosecutor Marcia Clark cheekily tried to distract defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran as he prepared to speak to the jury.

"As Marcia Clark was walking past Johnnie Cochran … [who] was about to make a closing argument – Marcia whispered to Johnny, 'I want you to think of one thing when you're up there making your oral argument.' Johnny said, 'What?' Marcia said, 'I'm not wearing any underwear,''' Dershowitz recalled.

"I couldn't believe that story when Johnnie Cochran told it to me and I called her and she confirmed it. So I asked her, 'So is it true? … Were you wearing [panties]?' And she said, 'I'm never telling you, but it's true that I told him that.'''

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