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Michael Shammas
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I'm a freelancer and second-year student at Harvard Law School, where I'm pursuing interests in corporate law, international human rights law, constitutional law, and civil and criminal litigation. In addition to my work as a writer, I represent clients and compile case research as a student attorney for the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project. I also serve as editor-in-chief for the Harvard Law Record, the law school's student-run newspaper.

Aside from the Huffington Post, I've previously written for and the Duke Chronicle, and my articles have appeared on various other websites.

Feel free to contact me at

Entries by Michael Shammas

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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Want Happiness? Become a Practicing Stoic

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 7:36 PM

About two months ago I stumbled upon a splendid little book entitled A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. By Professor William Irvine, the book promised something extraordinary: that happiness can be found in the doctrines of the aging, often-misunderstood philosophy of...

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Obama's Second Term Feels Like Bush's Fourth

(9) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 4:32 PM

Since birth we Americans are told that we are exceptional, that we live in "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Yet the Bush and Obama administrations have disproved that refrain. They have revealed that largely we are cowards -- such cowards that, because of a...

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Why Are Humans So Cruel?

(2) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 6:12 PM

Admit it or not, we've all felt it: Something bad happens to someone else, yet as a result we feel good. This psychological phenomenon is so widespread that it has even been given a name -- schadenfreude -- which roughly translates from German into English as "damage-joy" or...

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Jesus the Liberal

(100) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 11:24 AM

A long time ago there was a remarkable man, a man who said that might does not make right, that the weak have a strength the strong do not have and that what we call "justice" is often really injustice. He was a man who was condemned by traditional conservative...

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The World's Powerful People Just Met in Secret -- And We Have No Clue What They Discussed

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 2:22 PM

What if I told you that every year since 1954 hundreds of the world's most powerful leaders have met in secret, and that we still have basically no idea what they are talking about? That the list of American attendees has included Henry Kissinger, John F....

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The Death Penalty Is Premeditated, Unconstitutional Murder

(188) Comments | Posted June 13, 2013 | 3:13 PM

Murder is wrong -- period.

It doesn't matter if the murder in question -- the death penalty -- is legal. It is still wrong. More importantly, it is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court itself said so back in 1972.

That's right, writing in 1972...

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The Scariest NSA-Gate Lesson: 'Private Citizen' Is Now an Oxymoron

(5) Comments | Posted June 10, 2013 | 3:12 PM

In 1882, sensing an emerging age of secularism, Friedrich Nietzsche famously wrote, "God is dead." History proved him wrong, but although God is not yet dead, something else sure as hell is: Privacy.

Yes, for all practical intents and purposes, privacy is a relic of the past. For years...

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