Freedoms were upheld


To the Editor:

I want to thank Beth Kramer and the West Tisbury Free Public Library for having the courage to host Alan Dershowitz Wednesday afternoon. 

The afternoon was extraordinary in several respects. First because it presented the best expression of the First Amendment I have ever witnessed.  As a “baby boomer” I have participated in many protest marches and sit-ins and demonstrations. Freedom of speech is one of our most precious rights, as is the right of the people to peaceably assemble. Mr. Dershowitz welcomed the protesters. He encouraged them to voice their criticism. Besides all the despicable characters he has defended over the years (including “OJ” Simpson, Claus von Bulow, and Jeffrey Epstein) he has also championed protesters since the war in Vietnam. And this is important, because whatever you think about the man, like the ACLU, he understands that the most important thing about this country is the rule of law. Our Constitution protects every citizen and that is what guarantees our freedom. 

It is a privilege to live in a community where there is still enough respect for civility that we can have an open discussion of complicated and controversial subjects. This in itself was refreshing, but more importantly it is a cornerstone of living in a free country. We must be able to agree to disagree. We must be able to be both flexible and tolerant in our thinking. If we begin to demonize anyone who disagrees with our point of view that leads on a very slippery slope into fascism.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that some of Alan Dershowitz’s clients are despicable men, and I don’t like that one of our most brilliant legal minds defends them. But the principle of law is more important than any individual human being. That is something Alan Dershowitz understands very well.

And whatever else you want to say about the man, he is a part of history. He has known and worked with every president of the United States and of Israel for half a century.

I appreciate the opportunity to hear what he has to say.

Ellen Miller
Vineyard Haven


  1. What happened to the civility of life in and outside the courtroom… then off to the Navigator barroom after the defendant was found not guilty? The case of the accused was long forgotten after the first beer. That was life in the 70s for me as a young cop and the local attorneys for the defense in the 70s. I was too nervous and too honest to testify effectively in court. I learned the right way. I watched the Claus von Bulow trial and then years later as deputy chief, the O.J trial. I saw how the Professor succeeded in the courtroom game. I wasn’t for me… but Al never did anything illegal. As the chief of police in Edgartown between 1995 and 2010, I was within the 2nd and 3rd ring of many real Presidential Protection Details. Mr. Dershowitz, along with the many famous and more than a few infamous, were within the 1st ring. I never cared if you drank at the Sea View or drank in a 20M house with a sea view. I never thought it was possible, but I had to come to the defense of Honest Al. Am I being too honest…Al?

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