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Michael Shammas
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Mike is a third-year student at Harvard Law, where he serves as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Record. In addition to law, his interests include philosophy, history, Netflix binges, and political theory. Feel free to contact him at, or to follow him on twitter.

Entries by Michael Shammas

I Support Bernie Sanders Because He Supports Me

(9) Comments | Posted February 8, 2016 | 1:47 PM

"I wish he'd go away already."

From fellow Democrats, the refrain's relentless. Why's Bernie running? Why won't his naïve supporters get real? Some of my female friends supporting Sanders are implored with special force and added frustration: Get in line! The socialist has no chance. He's unrealistic.


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Outrage Culture Kills Important Conversation

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2016 | 10:11 AM

President Obama took a lot of heat recently for criticizing college leftists who are offended by dissenting opinions. But he's absolutely right: Productive discourse is dying, trampled over by closed minds who value comfortable opinion-holding over uncomfortable soul-searching. As dialogue lies flailing and gasping, outrage culture's pulse is...

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Making an Accomplice: Why "Making a Murderer's" Brendan Dassey Deserves a Re-Trial--Even if His Uncle Doesn't

(3) Comments | Posted January 8, 2016 | 12:27 AM

"Stop lying," he says--the eighth time. A bead of sweat slithers across a pasty crack on his forehead. "Son, listen: If you're straight with me, I'll help you. Promise." The officer sips his Mountain Dew, licks his lips, leans forward. Again: "Stop lying."

Trapped in this sterile bright-white room...

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ISIS's Backwards 'Caliphate' Evokes Crusaders Over Caliphs

(44) Comments | Posted December 29, 2015 | 12:59 AM

In medieval Europe, the Bible--as interpreted by Church--was king. Rather than cherishing their pre-Christian inheritance, many feudal lords branded classical philosophy, especially "pagan" texts, heresy. Skies billowed with smoke--fueled sometimes by heretical works, more often by the mangled bodies of the free thinkers who dared read them. A...

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An Open Letter to Governor Pat McCrory & Other Republican Governors: Let the Syrian Refugees in

(13) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 2:57 PM

What a precious human life we all have. The thin container wrapping this life -- its color, its gender, its religious claims and political delusions ... it's all nothing next to the inexplicable miracle that is a human consciousness. To stifle such an irreplaceable possession, as hate-crazed men did in...

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Harvard Law Professors and Scholars: State Governors Have No Legal Authority to Block Refugees

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 1:10 PM

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, more than half the nation's states are vowing to bar Syrian refugees. But do they have the legal authority to do so? Harvard Law professors say the answer is clear: No.

"States do not have the legal authority to deny refugees entry,"...

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Another Reason to Vote for Bernie: Unlike Clinton, Bernie Lacks the 'Politician's Personality'

(4) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 4:31 PM

Nothing could be faker -- or duller -- than a general election competition between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. These establishment sweethearts, Clinton especially, are perfect typecasts of the "Politician's Personality" -- a robotic, craven personality type that, here in law school, I'm way too familiar with.

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On Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties, Hillary Clinton Is Not a Progressive

(4) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 5:29 PM

If George Bush claimed he were a progressive, we would rightly laugh. Yet no one -- no one -- challenged Clinton's unequivocal claim to progressivism at the CNN Democratic debate earlier this week. Below is a list of six reasons why Clinton -- far from being a progressive -- could...

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To Hillary Clinton: Snowden Is a Traitor -- and a Hero

(20) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 9:32 AM

What an inane question it was to ask, at the CNN Democratic debate, whether Edward Snowden is either a "hero" or a "traitor." And what a shameful response from Hillary Clinton and every candidate aside from Bernie, whose implicit response was the only nuanced one: Snowden is both...

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Our Country Has Forgotten the Value of a Life

(8) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 6:05 PM

What is a life worth? Is a life worth your anger? Worth your bitterness, worth your hatred, worth your mental ticks and depredations? In August, as I watched Bryce Williams steal two lives in a pithy first-person videogame-like production that he later tweeted, that first question...

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Against Solitary Confinement

(3) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 6:38 PM

We are not a brutal nation. This is a historical truth: that we are a people defined by "humanity." Yet the great irony of the term "humanity" is that, rather than kindness and peace and forgiveness, humans too often produce the opposite. Our criminal justice system is human...

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From a Recipient of Birthright Citizenship: Immigration Made America Great, Because Immigrants Are Us

(21) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 2:08 PM

What an unlikely, an incredibly precious, human life we all have. The thin container wrapping that life -- its color, its gender, its religious claims and political delusions ... that container is nothing next to the one exquisite and inexplicable miracle: the one life, breathing and hoping and pulsing against...

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Trump Excels at Business, But He Has No Business in International Politics

(23) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 9:41 PM

Listening to Donald Trump's egotistical take, you'd think his loud business personality translates perfectly into international politics. Mexico acting up? No matter; he'll hop on the phone and curse Mexico out. China spiffing us in trade deals? Who cares! A solution is a phone call and an immature...

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The Clinton Campaign Didn't Learn from History: Underestimating Barack, Underestimating Bernie

(15) Comments | Posted August 14, 2015 | 2:01 PM

It feels like yesterday: My liberal friends and I, awed and caught by surprise, as a contender we'd previously discounted -- Barack Obama -- upset Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

Clinton's mistake up to that point had been to ignore Obama, to hope he'd go away....

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Make Criminal Justice Reform a Key Issue in 2016

(1) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 5:56 PM

In this age where vitriol is worth more political capital than sound policy, it is the rare issue that enjoys bipartisan support. Criminal justice is one such issue. The state of our criminal justice system is simply so bad, the political climate for change so good,...

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Invoking Camus to Live

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 8:27 PM

"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

William Shakespeare, Macbeth (Act V, Scene V)

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Why I Oppose the Death Penalty: Redemption Is Always Possible, so Killing Is Always Wrong

(22) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 12:09 PM

Imagine the worst thing you've ever done. Hold onto that thought for a moment. Now ask yourself: Does that moment define you? Should that moment define you? If you're like me, you'll find that even though we all make mistakes in life, even though we all fall short of our...

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Je Suis Nigeria

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 10:11 AM

The most horrific terror attacks in recent memory marked the beginning of the New Year. If you think I'm referencing the Charlie Hebdo incident, you're wrong. I'm talking about the slaughter of up to 2,000 Nigerians by radical Islamist group Boko Haram. The differential media coverage of the...

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We Need Free Speech Because We Are Ignorant

(1) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 12:37 PM

You are ignorant, and I am too. Failure to acknowledge this fact, combined with an iron certainty that everyone else is wrong, could one day lead to humanity's end. It is already leading to a less civil society and the erosion of free expression.

When two deranged...

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To Harvard and Other Universities: In Protecting Students From Sexual Assault, Don't Disregard Due Process

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 12:20 PM

In 1603, Sir Walter Raleigh was convicted of treason in a sham of a trial. Raleigh had no knowledge of the charges' substance until the morning of the tribunal, when he learned he was accused, on hearsay alone, of plotting to enthrone Lady Arabella Stuart. Years...

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