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Michael Shammas
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Mike has written for numerous websites and publications. He served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Record, America's oldest law school newspaper, before graduating from Harvard Law School.

Aside from law, his interests include philosophy, history, political theory, attempting to write fiction, and Netflix binges.

Contact him at, or follow him on twitter.

Entries by Michael Shammas

Speaking at Harvard Law, "Making a Murderer" Attorney Dean Strang Highlights Our Troubling Rate of Wrongful Convictions--and Suggests a Solution

(0) Comments | Posted July 12, 2016 | 5:08 PM

No system is perfect. Our criminal justice apparatus is a system. Therefore, our criminal justice system is imperfect.

A small syllogism--but it has big consequences: The murder, caging, and shaming of untold innocents.

How can we reduce our rate of wrongful convictions without making convictions impossible? The question's...

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For a Productive Discussion, Voters Must Fight the Impulse to Do Harm

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 9:59 PM

After recent events during this bizarre election season, let's pause. Do we want to inhabit a culture of human dignity, or an honor culture where every slight is met with face-saving, self-important insults? Do we want to transcend harm--or to cause it? Do we want to allow the...

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Ralph Nader, 'An Unreasonable Man,' Makes Reasonable Points About Tort Reform

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 3:11 PM

Writing for Harper's last month, Ralph Nader issued a warning: Tort law is dying. In combating ambulance chasers, malpractice premiums, and frivolous lawsuits, we went too far. Tort reform became tort deform. The public was played, hustled into dismantling its Seventh Amendment right to a jury...

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The U.S. Government Finally Admitted ISIS Is Committing Genocide. Yet a Complacent World Risks Repeating the Tragedy of 1994.

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2016 | 11:25 AM

Three years ago, as I sat in a cozy coffee shop writing a Huffington Post entry on the Syrian Civil War that remains depressingly relevant today, people died in Syria. They died for no other crime than that of being more human than their executioners. They died, and...

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Sanders Fans, Don't Let the Media Mislead You: We're Still in This

(107) Comments | Posted March 3, 2016 | 10:28 AM

Watching cable news since the South Carolina primary, you'd think Bernie's already lost. "The math's too difficult," the "wisdom" goes. "Clinton has too many delegates."

That argument is so misleading.

Sure, Secretary Clinton currently has 1,052 delegates to Bernie's 427. But 457 of Clinton's "delegates"...

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Secretary Clinton, Join Bernie Sanders & the Democratic Party: Oppose Capital Punishment

(1) Comments | Posted February 27, 2016 | 9:56 PM

The story of the Democratic primaries is Hillary Clinton's leftward shift. (It remains unclear whether the story's a fiction.) Strangely, a key position she's not yet "evolved" on is held by more Republicans than Democrats: She's pro-death penalty.

Yes, Hillary's said that execution should...

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Why Bernie's Surging

(2) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 8:43 AM

"There's one grown-up in this race -- and it's not Bernie."

More and more, Clinton supporters are lobbing this claim at not just Bernie (a 74-year-old man), but at anyone who supports him. The implication is that smart people support Clinton. Only those who, childlike, lack complete knowledge about...

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I Support Bernie Sanders Because He Supports Me

(9) Comments | Posted February 8, 2016 | 12:47 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

(2) Comments | Posted January 27, 2016 | 9:11 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

(4) Comments | Posted January 7, 2016 | 11:27 PM

"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

(47) Comments | Posted December 28, 2015 | 11:59 PM

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 | 1:57 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 | 12:10 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 | 3:31 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

(7) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 4:29 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 | 8:32 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 | 5:05 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 | 5:38 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 | 1:08 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

(22) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 8:41 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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