How do you contribute?

Dershowitz hopes he has filled in some jurisprudential black holes in his career.
  • Transcript


Question: How do you contribute?

Alan Dershowitz: Well I think an academic’s legacy is generally going to be in his or her writing. I’ve just finished my 25th book, and I would say half of them have a potential for enduring and having an impact on the future.

I have at least one more big book I want to write about the preventive state which brings this all together, and finally constructs a jurisprudence which can be used to deal with this increasing and growing phenomenon.

So if I want to be remembered for anything, it’s probably that I observed phenomenon that were very important that others hadn’t focused on, and tried to construct a jurisprudence to make these phenomenon subject to the rule of law. Nothing’s more important in democracy than the rule of law, and having black holes in the law, like [the US base at] Guantanamo [Bay, Cuba]; like the way the mentally ill were treated; like the way affirmative action operated for many years; like the way the Internet regulation currently operates in the free speech context; like the way we gather preventive intelligence. These are all black holes in the law, and the law should abhor a vacuum.

And I’m trying to fill that vacuum with at least a preliminary jurisprudence that will become refined over time.


Recorded On: June 12, 2007