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Dershowitz Reply

September 20, 1985

The American Civil Liberties Union's defenders (Letters, Sept. 3) certainly know how to invoke due process in a neutral-sounding way. The reality, however, is that all too often the organization selectively invokes due process in support of the political views of its dominant board members.

From my long experience with the ACLU I strongly suspect that if the case involving the return of Walter Polovchak to the Soviet Union had instead involved a young black South African who, while visiting this country with his South African police parents, decided not to return to that dungeon of racist oppression, there would not have been the votes to enter such a case on behalf of the parents.

The officers of the ACLU are correct in characterizing the case as "a difficult one, with civil liberties concerns on both sides of the courtroom." My criticism is that the ACLU picked its side on political grounds. How much better it would have been had the ACLU submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in which it honestly and neutrally set out the civil liberties concerns on both sides.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ

Professor of Law

Harvard University

Cambridge, Mass.

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