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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, the oldest law student-run newspaper in the country.

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Entries by Michael Shammas

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

(18) 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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We Must Recover America's Hopeful Spirit

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 2:45 PM

The modern United States is less hopeful than ever. We live in a time when cynicism about government is at an all-time high, when lack of trust in our most sacred institutions is the norm rather than the exception. Our knowledge has made us wary of politics; our...

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Fellow Law Students, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 11:06 AM

Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was thinking of death and old age when he wrote his famous refrain: "Do not go gentle into that good night ... Rage, rage against the dying of the light." Yet this line is applicable to many twenty-something law students. Because, quite frankly, a...

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One Solution to the World's Wars: Alternative Energy

(5) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 11:37 AM


Crimea, once part of Ukraine, is now part of Russia (at least according to Putin). Yet so far, this dramatic move is being met with relatively weak responses from the United States and Europe.

Part of the reason for that is that Russia...

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Would You Pass the US Citizenship Test? Take This Quiz!

(2) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 12:40 PM

Every year, thousands of people take the U.S. citizenship exam and 91 percent of would-be citizens pass. Compare that to 66 percent -- the pass rate for native-born Americans.

What a difference.

There are two components to the test. To pass the civics...

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