September 13, 2023

Trump's Constitutional Rights Are Being Denied: Here's Why

For the first time, a former U.S. president and a leading presidential candidate is set to face the judiciary not for mere political infractions, but on charges that carry weighty implications.

In a recent Newsweek op-ed, Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus professor of law at Harvard Law School, passionately argued that former President Donald Trump is being denied his constitutional right to due process. The article can be summarized into a few key points that warrant closer examination.

1. Historical Significance of Trump's Trials:

Alan Dershowitz posits that the four criminal trials currently scheduled for Trump rank among the most significant in American history. He underscores the need for these trials to be perceived as fair, emphasizing that not just Trump, but the very American justice system, is on trial in the eyes of both Americans and the world at large.

The criminal trials of former President Donald Trump represent an unprecedented moment in American history, and as Dershowitz argues, their ramifications extend well beyond the immediate legal outcomes. For the first time, a former U.S. president and a leading presidential candidate is set to face the judiciary not for mere political infractions, but on charges that carry weighty implications.

Such trials serve as a litmus test for America's commitment to the rule of law, demonstrating whether even the highest office's occupant is subject to the same legal standards as any ordinary citizen. The trials also set a precedent for how the American judicial system handles cases with profound political implications.

Given the global stature of the U.S. and its often-touted democratic values, these proceedings are closely watched worldwide. A fair trial would bolster confidence in the U.S. judicial system, while any perceived miscarriage of justice could tarnish its reputation. Thus, the significance of these trials is not only rooted in their potential political ramifications but also in their broader implications for American democracy and the country's global standing.

2. The Political Underpinnings:

A recurring theme in Dershowitz's piece is the fusion of the legal and the political. He implies that the trials could be used as a political tool, citing concerns that an unfair or untimely trial could sway the 2024 elections. He mentions that Trump, apart from being a former president, is a leading presidential candidate.

The trials facing former President Donald Trump are not just legal battles; they are deeply intertwined with the political fabric of the nation. As Dershowitz outlines, there is a palpable tension between the desire to seek justice and the urge by some to use the trials as a tool to potentially thwart Trump's political aspirations.

The timing of the trials, strategically (ⁿplaced amid the primary season, only heightens these political undertones. Such timing fuels speculation that the trials are not solely about establishing guilt or innocence but also about influencing public perception and voter decisions ahead of a pivotal election.

In a country already grappling with political polarization, the perception of the trials as being politically motivated could exacerbate divisions. If segments of the population believe that the legal proceedings are merely a guise for a political agenda, it risks eroding trust not just in the judiciary but also in the very tenets of democratic governance.

For the U.S., which has long championed the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, the intertwining of legal proceedings with political objectives poses profound challenges. The trials' handling, and the reactions they elicit, could shape American political discourse and public trust for years to come.

3. Timing and Location Concerns:

Dershowitz delves into two primary constitutional issues. First, he critiques the timing of the trials, arguing that they're strategically positioned to influence the upcoming election. He strongly believes that a fair trial cannot be accomplished within the current timeline, especially considering the vast amount of evidence involved. Second, he raises concerns about the trial locations, suggesting that the selected venues are predominantly anti-Trump, which may make it nearly impossible to assemble an unbiased jury.

4. The Essence of a Fair Trial:

One of the most poignant arguments made by Dershowitz is about the essence of a fair trial. He stresses that only the defendant has the right to demand a speedy trial and that the government's role is to ensure a fair trial. Dershowitz worries that rushing Trump's trials compromises the neutrality of the legal system.

5. Public Perception and Constitutional Rights:

Dershowitz's primary contention is that the world perceives Trump as being denied his right to due process. He emphasizes that the jury, in its current formation and location, may begin with a presumption of guilt rather than innocence.

The trials of President Donald Trump significantly influence public perception and raise critical questions about the balance between holding the highest office in the land accountable and preserving the constitutional rights of an individual. As the trials unfold, the media plays an instrumental role in shaping the narrative, leading to intense polarization among the American public. Supporters of Trump view the trials as politically motivated, an attempt to tarnish the legacy of a president who, in their eyes, has achieved much during his tenure. They express concerns about the potential erosion of constitutional rights, including the right to a fair trial, fearing that the legal proceedings are influenced by political agendas.

Conversely, critics argue that the trials are essential to uphold the rule of law and that no individual, regardless of their office, should be above it. They see the trials as a testament to American democracy, emphasizing that even a president can be held accountable for alleged misconduct. This group believes that forgoing or limiting the trials would set a dangerous precedent, allowing future leaders to evade scrutiny.

In the midst of this divided public opinion, a broader debate on the role of the judiciary in political matters emerges. Some constitutional scholars voice concerns about the potential for the trials to set new legal precedents, which might affect the balance of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The trials also prompt a reexamination of the impeachment process, with many pondering whether the current framework ensures an impartial review or if it's susceptible to being weaponized for political gain. As the nation grapples with these weighty issues, it becomes clear that the trials are not just about Trump; they touch on the very fabric of American democracy, the sanctity of its institutions, and the preservation of its foundational principles.


Alan Dershowitz's article in Newsweek highlights the complexities and intertwined nature of law and politics, especially when it involves a figure as polarizing as Donald Trump. While the article is opined, it brings forth significant questions about the nature of justice, the essence of a fair trial, and the impact of public and political perceptions on due process. Whether one agrees with Dershowitz or not, his arguments undoubtedly prompt a reflection on the broader principles of justice in America.

Alan Dershowitz’s Op-ed with Newsweek

Originally-published article

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