Alan Dershowitz Quotes

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A criminal trial is never about seeking justice for the victim. If it were, there could be only one verdict: guilty.
— Alan Dershowitz

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A good lawyer knows how to shut up when he's won his case.

Alan Dershowitz

A visit to Israel is always an experience in cognitive dissonance. The Israel you personally see and hear is so completely different from the Israel you read and hear about in the media.

Alan Dershowitz

All sides in a trial want to hide at least some of the truth.

Alan Dershowitz

Any human being has private thoughts.

Alan Dershowitz

Asymmetrical warfare is a euphemism for terrorism, just like collateral damage is a euphemism for killing innocent civilians.

Alan Dershowitz

Being offended by freedom of speech should never be regarded as a justification for violence.

Alan Dershowitz

Candor and accountability in a democracy is very important. Hypocrisy has no place.

Alan Dershowitz

Doing something because God has said to do it does not make a person moral: it merely tells us that person is a prudential believer, akin to the person who obeys the command of an all-powerful secular king.

Alan Dershowitz

Ed Koch will never 'rest in peace.' That was not his way. He was always nervously squirming, while making others squirm as well. Comfort was not his goal. He understood that to be a proud and assertive Jew meant never being able to leave a sigh of relief and say, 'It's over, we are at peace, we can now put down our guard and relax.'

Alan Dershowitz

Every celebrity case I've been involved in - I've been involved in a great many - the one thing you can be sure of is they don't get the same justice as everybody else. It could be worse, it could be better, it's never the same.

Alan Dershowitz

Every lawsuit results from somebody doing something wrong. If everybody did right, we wouldn't need laws.

Alan Dershowitz

For most people, the question why be good - as distinguished from merely law abiding - is a simple one. Because God commands it, because the Bible requires it, because good people go to Heaven and bad people go to Hell.

Alan Dershowitz

Freedom of speech means freedom for those who you despise, and freedom to express the most despicable views. It also means that the government cannot pick and choose which expressions to authorize and which to prevent.

Alan Dershowitz

Good character consists of recognizing the selfishness that inheres in each of us and trying to balance it against the altruism to which we should all aspire. It is a difficult balance to strike, but no definition of goodness can be complete without it.

Alan Dershowitz

Great research universities must insist on independence from government and on the exercise of academic freedom.

Alan Dershowitz

Hypocrisy is not a way of getting back to the moral high ground. Pretending you're moral, saying your moral is not the same as acting morally.

Alan Dershowitz

I am a peace supporting Jew.

Alan Dershowitz

I am deeply concerned that, without peace and a two-state solution, the Jewish and democratic nature of Israel is in danger. That's why I have opposed Israel's settlement policy since 1973, and that's why I have favored a two-state solution since 1967.

Alan Dershowitz

I believe that if Israel were to put an end to the settlements in the West Bank tomorrow, as it did in Gaza, there would still be reluctance on the part of the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish secular democracy.

Alan Dershowitz

I came from a poor family, so working and going to school at the same time was natural. It taught me multi-tasking, although we didn't call it that back then. I learned I could never be idle, I need to be doing many things at once.

Alan Dershowitz

I can't find anything in the Constitution that says you prefer the life of the mother, or the convenience of the mother if it's an abortion by choice, over the potential life of the fetus. Look, I think women, if they're required to not have abortions, could die and could - so I favor a woman's right to choose.

Alan Dershowitz

I charge my wealthy clients a lot and put 10 per cent in a fund which I use to pay the expenses of my poorer clients. When the government gangs up on the poor schnook in the street, someone has to stand up for him.

Alan Dershowitz

I don't believe in firing professors. They have academic freedom.

Alan Dershowitz

I don't think the law exists to arrive at the truth. If it did, we wouldn't have exclusionary rules, we wouldn't have presumptions of innocence, we wouldn't have proof beyond reasonable doubt. There's an enormous difference between the role of truth in law and the role of truth in science. In law, truth is one among many goals.

Alan Dershowitz

I feel like my 50 years at Harvard were an interlude. I'm really a New Yorker.

Alan Dershowitz

I generally don't select my chicken or my hamburgers based on the personal ideology of the person who is either flipping the hamburgers or making the money back at corporate headquarters. But if people want to do that, they're free to do it.

Alan Dershowitz

I have been defending Israel's right to exist, and to defend itself against terrorism, for many years-on college campuses, in television appearances and in debate.

Alan Dershowitz

I know Obama, I like Obama, I voted for Obama.

Alan Dershowitz

I learn from experience.

Alan Dershowitz

I love discomfort. I mean, my whole life is discomfort. One reason I can never retire is that the idea of just sitting on the beach totally comfortable is not a desideratum in my life. I like ambiguity, I like conflict, I like uncertainly.

Alan Dershowitz

I love the Bible.

Alan Dershowitz

I love to play. I love, opera, hiking and museums. The one thing I don't do is sit. I have a tremendous amount of energy.

Alan Dershowitz

I never do anything for money; I get paid a lot of money as a by-product.

Alan Dershowitz

I never had a strategy about my life. I didn't have enough information to have a strategy. I'm the first person in my family to go to college. I had no family mentors.

Alan Dershowitz

I never had an existential moment when I asked myself what I was going to do. I always wanted to be a lawyer, and I knew exactly the kind of lawyer I wanted to be.

Alan Dershowitz

I never place limits on the potential success of my students. If they're going into acting, they're going to win the Oscar... If they're going into law, they're going to be chief justice.

Alan Dershowitz

I talk with my hands. Some people don't like that. That's who I am.

Alan Dershowitz

I tell my students, if you ever become comfortable with your role as criminal defense lawyer, it's time to quit. It should be a constant source of discomfort, because you're dealing with incredible moral ambiguity, and you've been cast into a role which is not enviable.

Alan Dershowitz

I think extremists within the base may very well move the Democratic party away from its pro-Israel position.

Alan Dershowitz

I think mistakes are the essence of science and law. It's impossible to conceive of either scientific progress or legal progress without understanding the important role of being wrong and of mistakes.

Alan Dershowitz

I think most defense attorneys honestly believe the principle that says, 'Better 10 guilty go free than even one possibly innocent person be convicted.'

Alan Dershowitz

I think that lawyers are terrible at admitting that they're wrong. And not just admitting it - also realizing it.

Alan Dershowitz

I think that lawyers are terrible at admitting that they're wrong. And not just admitting it; also realizing it. Most lawyers are very successful, and they think that because they're making money and people think well of them, they must be doing everything right.

Alan Dershowitz

I think there would be less torture with a warrant requirement than without one.

Alan Dershowitz

I think we're seeing privacy diminish, not by laws... but by young people who don't seem to value their privacy.

Alan Dershowitz

I understand that it's good tactics to categorize me as a close-minded, unobjective extremist, but nobody that respects me has those views.

Alan Dershowitz

I was a Jewish rabbinical student for 12 years, and studied the Bible all the time.

Alan Dershowitz

I was critical of race-based affirmative action early on in my career and I've changed my mind. And I've publicly acknowledged that I was wrong.

Alan Dershowitz

I'm a very tough guy, and I fight hard, and I don't give up. And that makes me friends and that makes me enemies, and I know that.

Alan Dershowitz

A criminal trial is never about seeking justice for the victim. If it were, there could be only one verdict: guilty.

Alan Dershowitz