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Leon Friedman
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Leon Friedman is a law professor at Hofstra Law School, teaching constitutional law and copyright. He is also a practicing lawyer, specializing in First Amendment law. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of the Harvard Law School. He served for a time a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.

He has written or worked on briefs for the United States Supreme Court in many important cases dealing with the First Amendment, copyright, civil rights, employment discrimination, Criminal Procedure, and abuse of government power. He has represented a number of publishers, including Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Arcade Publishers, Chelsea House Publishers, as well as many authors including I. B. Singer, Susan Sontag, John McPhee, Stephen Spender, Hunter Thompson as well as the estates of Edith Wharton and T.S. Eliot. He is the general counsel for PEN American Center and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Professor Friedman has published numerous books and articles on legal subjects including Brown v. Board of Education: The Complete Oral Arguments, The Civil Rights Act of 1991, The Supreme Court Confronts Abortion, The Law of War; The Wise Minority, The Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1789-1969, which received the Scribes Award as the outstanding book on a legal subject during 1970. He also written about 100 law review, newspaper and journal articles. He was the co-author of a Broadway play, The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald

Entries by Leon Friedman

Suing Mario Cuomo

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2015 | 3:00 PM

The death of Mario Cuomo reminded me that I met Governor Cuomo and talked to him only once. I also sued him only once.

I met him at a fund raiser during his last campaign for governor in 1994. I praised him for his opposition to the death penalty....

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The Fiftieth Anniversary of Fighting Southern Injustice

(1) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 2:21 PM

Fifty years ago, thousands of students from northern, mid-western and western colleges came to the South to participate in "Freedom Summer." Their goal was to increase voter registration among the African-American inhabitants of those states. The former Confederate states had set up almost impossible road blocks for potential black voters...

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How I Met James Brown

(3) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 4:53 PM

On August 1, 2014, a movie about James Brown, called "Get On Up," will open nationwide. Mr. Brown is played by Chadwick Boseman, the same actor who played Jackie Robinson in the "42" movie. (Mr. Brown always insisted on being called "Mr. Brown"). The movie focuses on Mr....

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The Legal Problems of the Mambo Kings

(1) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 4:54 PM

Oscar Hijuelos died on October 12, 2013. His great contribution to American letters was his work The Mambo Kings Plays Songs of Love, which won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1990. The work was one of the first recognized works of fiction to dramatize...

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The Myth of States' Rights

(44) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 10:59 AM

One of the basic legends of our political system is that our liberties are protected because Congress has only limited power to pass laws, and, as a result, it has not been in a position to infringe our rights. Another part of the legend is that the power of the...

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The Supreme Court vs. Congress

(22) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 12:43 PM

President Obama raised a fire storm when he recently seemed to challenge the Supreme Court's power to declare the health care law unconstitutional. He said: "Ultimately, I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was...

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Where Our Nation Has Failed

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2012 | 4:47 PM

According to the CIA World Factbook, our infant mortality rate (the death rate for infants one year or less) is 6.06 per 1,000 births. That puts the United States 48th in the world in that category. Forty-eighth in the world! We are behind Cuba, Taiwan, Hungary, South...

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Why Is the Federal Government Surrendering Its Best Argument to Defend the Attack of the Health Care Law?

(5) Comments | Posted November 17, 2011 | 7:50 PM

On Monday, November 14, 2011, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the challenge to the Obama health care law (known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). It granted certiorari in the Florida case decided by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the only decision by an appeal court...

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How to Become the 51st State

(24) Comments | Posted August 24, 2011 | 11:37 AM

Some southern California counties (of a conservative Republican persuasion) have begun an effort to break off from the rest of California and form a 51st state. The leaders of the campaign claim that the new state, Southern California, would be more financially responsible than the current government....

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The Constitutionality of the Federal Health Care Law

(12) Comments | Posted May 13, 2011 | 7:55 PM

A federal appeals court has just heard the first appeals from lower court decisions dealing with the constitutionality of the federal health care law (alternately called "Obama care" and the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act"). A Virginia judge and a Florida judge (both appointed by Republican Presidents) have decided...

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Can the President Legally Continue to Use Military Force in Libya?

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2011 | 5:57 PM

Will our involvement in the Libyan conflict become illegal after May 19, 2011? What is the significance of that date? Does the president have the right to order our ships and planes into military action without the approval of Congress? Doesn't the Constitution give Congress and only Congress the authority...

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Fixing the Deficit by Getting Help From the Top 1%

(991) Comments | Posted April 18, 2011 | 3:46 PM

President Obama seeks to reduce the deficit and the national debt by cutting defense costs, lowering spending on Medicaid and Medicare, reducing itemized tax deductions for the rich and eliminating the Bush tax cuts for families earning over $250,000 a year. The Republicans have already defeated him on the last...

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