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Michael Shammas
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Mike is a second-year at Harvard Law, where he's pursuing interests in corporate law, international human rights law, constitutional law, immigration law, and civil and criminal litigation. He serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Record, the law school's student-run newspaper.

Aside from Huffington Post, Mike has previously written for, Thought Catalog, and the Duke Chronicle, and his articles have appeared on various other websites.

Contact him at

Entries by Michael Shammas

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

(21) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 11:09 AM

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 | 9:11 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 | 11:37 AM

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 | 11:20 AM

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 | 1:45 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 | 10:06 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 | 10:37 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 | 11:40 AM

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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Working as a Defense Attorney Shouldn't Mean Political Suicide

(2) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 4:34 PM

Last month, Hillary Clinton faced a slew of criticisms after joking about her defense of an alleged rapist four decades ago. Although most critics (rightly) focused on her grossly insensitive humor, some attacked her for having worked as a defense attorney at all. This...

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The Troubling Rise of Thoughtcrime on College Campuses

(1) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 9:59 AM

I wish I could have expressed surprise at the Class of 2014's immature reaction to the possibility of hearing conservative opinions at their commencement addresses last month; but my own college experiences taught me otherwise.

I grew up in Eastern North Carolina as one of the only...

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TV News & Upworthy Are Transforming Us All Into Dumb, Ill-Informed, Simple-Minded Sheep

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 2:46 PM

For the first time in my life, I can confidently say that most news is not making us smarter -- it is making us dumber.

That statement does not include places like this site, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. But it does...

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Treating Death Row Inmates like Disposable Guinea Pigs is Unconstitutional

(2) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 1:45 PM

Late last month, Clayton Lockett, a horrible person, died an equally horrible death.

After being injected with an experimental sedative--necessitated due to EU export-bans on traditional execution drugs--and declared "unconscious," the murderer writhed in blistering pain for nearly thirty minutes and mumbled "oh,...

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Teach Law Outside of Law Schools

(4) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 5:07 PM

What if I told you that the doctrine closest to the halls of power is largely unknown to the public? That the most pertinent social science subject -- one that affects every single one of us every single day -- is taught to only a select few? That would be...

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Too Often, American Justice Is Injustice

(1) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 1:48 PM

The Roman philosopher Seneca said that "nothing is more common than for great thieves to ride in triumph while small ones are punished." 2,000 years later, American justice is proving his point. Elites regularly do things that -- if you or I did them -- would land us...

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These Are the 10 Most Psychopathic Jobs in America

(12) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 2:05 PM

As an aspiring lawyer, I suspected it all along, but now my suspicions have been (unfortunately) confirmed: We're all crazy.

A ranking compiled by Oxford psychologist Kevin Dutton, author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success,...

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Obama Is Right: Close Guantanamo -- It's Anti-American

(6) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 12:36 PM

Soon after his election, President Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay. But today -- more than five years since -- the infamous military prison is still open. Who's to blame? The answer is simple: Congress.

While some Republicans are wont to decry...

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End the Prison-Industrial Complex

(7) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 10:02 AM

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to send someone to prison -- deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and so on -- but profit is not among them. Unfortunately, it is an obscenely large reason that American prisons today house more inmates than any other country on this planet....

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Being Kind is Underrated

(0) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 5:03 PM

The other day I was speaking with a friend who was depressed because of a perceived lack of virtues. According to her, she was less intelligent, less beautiful and less ambitious than her peers, and -- to add to the woe -- she'd accomplished less, too. Because of this perceived...

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On the 50th Anniversary of His Assassination, JFK's Message Is More Important Now Than Ever

(1) Comments | Posted November 15, 2013 | 2:11 PM

I have an old poster, battered and worn, that's been taped up on my wall for as long as I can remember. It features a JFK quote juxtaposed against an image of the great man smoking: "Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly."

Something about that...

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The World's Silence on Syria Is a Silence of Hypocrites

(14) Comments | Posted October 21, 2013 | 4:42 PM

There is an old Syrian proverb: "A little spark can kindle a great fire."

On Jan. 26, 2011, that is exactly what happened in Damascus when Hasan Ali Akleh set himself on fire in an act of self-immolation similar to what Mohamed Bouazizi did...

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