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Fein in September 2011.
|Born||March 12, 1947|
|Education||J.D. in law|
|Alma mater||Harvard Law School|
Bruce Fein (born March 12, 1947) is an American lawyer who specializes in constitutional and international law. Fein has written numerous articles on constitutional issues for The Washington Times, Slate.com, The New York Times, The Huffington Post and Legal Times, and is active on civil liberties issues. He has worked for the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, both conservative think tanks, as an analyst and commentator.
Fein graduated from Ellwood P. Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, California in 1965, where he was a starting guard on the basketball team. He attended Swarthmore College, and then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the starting guard for the California Golden Bears men's basketball team. Fein received his Juris Doctor (JD) from Harvard Law School in 1972.
Fein is the brother of Dan Fein, a prominent figure in the Socialist Workers Party and former candidate for governor of Illinois and mayor of New York City.
Bruce Fein married Mattie Lolavar on May 15, 2004. The two were divorced in June 2013.
Under President Ronald Reagan, Fein served as an associate deputy attorney general from 1981 to 1982 and as general counsel to the Federal Communications Commission. During that period, he wrote an extensive 30-page critique of Times v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court ruling that freed American media from much of its liability under libel law in the United States. That memorandum was briefly misattributed to Judge John Roberts while his nomination to be Chief Justice of the United States was pending. In 1987, he served as the minority (minority party) research director of the committee in the United States House of Representatives that investigated the Iran-Contra Affair.
The George W. Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program, which intercepted some communications without a warrant from the FISA court, incensed him enough to propose censure or even impeachment of Bush. He ridiculed Harriett Miers's Supreme Court nomination, and was sharply criticical of then-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
In March 2007, he founded the American Freedom Agenda with Bob Barr, David Keene and Richard Viguerie. Notable published writings by Fein include articles advocating the impeachment of former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney.
On September 2, 2008, Fein addressed Ron Paul's "Rally For The Republic" in Minneapolis, offering a critique of the Bush administration's interventionist policy and advocating a more non-interventionist foreign policy. Fein also harshly criticized the anti-terror policies of the Bush White House, including wiretapping and detention of terror suspects. In April 2009, Fein criticized President Barack Obama for declining to prosecute Bush administration officials for composing CIA memos justifying torture during interrogations.
During the transition following the 2016 election of Donald Trump, the Supreme Court decision in Korematsu v. United States was suggested as offering possible support for implementing his policies targeting all Muslims in the United States. Fein argued that subsequent revelations that the Court was misled, changes in attitudes, and notably the Congress passing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 in which it apologized for the nation and made reparations for internment of Japanese Americans, history has in effect overturned the Korematsu decision. While the Supreme Court has not actually overturned Korematsu, Harvard University's Noah Feldman has came to the same conclusion, declaring that "Korematsu's uniquely bad legal status means it's not precedent even though it hasn't been overturned." Both made arguments in line with Richard Primus' notion of "Anti-Canon" cases, those which have come to be seen as exemplars of faulty legal reasoning and / or decision making, with Feldman comparing Korematsu to Plessy v. Ferguson and Fein stating that it has "joined Dred Scott as an odious and discredited artifact of popular bigotry."
As general counsel to the F.C.C. in the 1980s, Fein re-examined the legal foundations of the Commission’s Fairness Doctrine that originated as a Commission rule in 1948. He concluded that the Doctrine was not required by statute, and that the Commission was authorized to repeal the Doctrine by a rulemaking that demonstrated that it chilled the speech of broadcasters on controversial issues in contravention of the First Amendment. The rulemaking culminated in repeal in 1987, which was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A congressional initiative to re-impose the Doctrine by statute was vetoed by President Reagan. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine gave birth to a thriving talk radio industry.
Fein collaborated with Georgia Congressman Bob Barr in drafting articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. He authored scores of articles and made many media appearances explaining why President Clinton’s conduct satisfied the constitutional standard of "high crimes and misdemeanors." Fein argued that the two articles of impeachment voted by the House of Representatives against President Clinton did not pivot on lying about sex. They rested on the President’s disrespect for the rule of law, including lying under oath during civil litigation and a grand jury proceeding. United States District Judge Susan Webber Wright later found President Clinton guilty of contempt of court for lying under oath in the Paula Jones litigation, and fined him $90,000. He also agreed to surrender his license to practice law.
In the summer of 2013, Fein was hired by Lon Snowden, father of fugitive ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. However, Edward Snowden subsequently made clear that Fein did not represent him, explaining that certain comments about his relationship with Glenn Greenwald were misattributed as his own, rather than properly attributed to either Fein or Snowden's father.
In January 2014, Rand Paul announced he was filing a class-action suit against the Obama Administration over the warrantless surveying the PRISM program allowed the National Security Administration to utilize. A controversy was stirred by the reporting that the lawsuit was drafted by Fein, but his name was replaced with Ken Cuccinelli’s, the lead counsel on the lawsuit. Mattie Fein, Fein's ex-wife and spokeswoman, told a Washington Post reporter that "Ken Cuccinelli stole the suit," and that Rand Paul "already has one plagiarism issue, now has a lawyer who just takes another lawyer’s work product." Paul's PAC refuted these claims by producing an email from Fein stating that his ex-wife did not speak for him and that he was paid for his work.
Fein has acted "on behalf of Tamils Against Genocide" related to espouse their cause—that is, to present parts of the Sri Lankan Civil War as Tamil genocide. It included attempts to bring criminal charges against some American citizens who are prominent members of the Sri Lankan government.
His first action as a lawyer was to participate, in the name of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations to the court case against Mourad Topalian, sentenced in 2001 for illegal storing of war weapons and explosives, linked to the Justice Commandos against Armenian Genocide.
Together with David Saltzman, he represented Armenian Genocide denier Guenter Lewy in an action against the Southern Poverty Law Center. After filing a complaint, the TALDF obtained a public statement of retraction and apologies from SPLC, and a monetary compensation to Prof. Lewy. Fein is also one of the attorneys for Rep. Jean Schmidt, another Armenian Genocide denier, in action against David Krikorian and of the TCA against University of Minnesota. The House Ethics Committee recently found that Fein had misled Schmidt by failing to disclose to her that his fees in connection with the litigation against David Krikorian were being paid by the TCA.
American Empire: Before the Fall, the most recent of Fein’s published works, condemns what it calls "the aggressive foreign policy of the United States" for being devoid of concrete objectives, and as such, doomed to war in perpetuity. According to Fein, foreign policy as it stands is earmarked by domination for the sake of domination and gaping wounds to the rule of law and separation of powers. Fein writes: "The larger national motivation is to dominate the world for the excitement of domination. The narrower particular motivation of the President is to reduce coequal branches of government to vassalage, to place the President above the law, and to justify secret government without accountability. James Madison’s admonitions about presidential wars have been vindicated."
Campaign for Liberty commissioned and published American Empire: Before the Fall. This was their first foray into the realm of publishing. Ron Paul (via Campaign for Liberty), Ralph Nader, Glenn Greenwald, Judge Andrew Napolitano, US Representative Walter B. Jones, Jr., are prominent political figures who so far have publicly declared their concurrence with Fein's analysis.
Constitutional Peril was the first book authored by Fein intended for the general public. It was published while President Bush remained in office in 2008, and it made an impassioned argument in favor of impeachment for the President’s unparalleled expansion of executive authority and multiple defilements of the rule of law. Fein's argument was presented on national television programs including Bill Moyers' Journal.
Ron Paul is among the most notable consistent proponents of Fein's political commentary. He is quoted on the cover of Constitutional Peril saying: "Bruce Fein is one of the most important legal minds of our time. Constitutional Peril is a must-read for American lovers of liberty."
The message, asserts Bruce Fein, a Supreme Court authority at the conservative Heritage Foundation, was that conservatives should not expect sudden, revolutionary change in settled legal doctrines in these and perhaps other areas from the Rehnquist Court, at least with its current membership.
Bruce Fein, a Washington lawyer who was general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission in the Reagan administration, said yesterday that he wrote the memorandum, a caustic critique of New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court decision that revolutionized American libel law, and of the role played by the press in society.
Fein cites the 1952 Supreme Court case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer as support for the proposition that the President does not have "inherent authority" to bypass legislative enactments of Congress in a time of war.
The tipping point in Washington is when you go from being a subject of caricature to the subject of laughter. She's in danger of becoming the subject of laughter.
Some legal experts see Mr. Gonzales as little more than a surrogate for President Bush, whom he has served in a variety of capacities since 1997, when Mr. Bush was governor of Texas. "Nothing in Al Gonzales's public statements, legislative proposals or anything else suggests that this is an individual who operates outside of the political gyroscope of President Bush," said Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration.
The Titanic is sinking," Bruce Fein, a former top Justice Department official under the Reagan administration and a sharp Gonzales critic, said today about Hertling's resignation. "The fact is the department has become dysfunctional. Gonzales is going to be left with no subordinates.
The American Freedom Agenda, led by Viguerie, former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, American Conservative Union chair David Keene, and Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein has bluntly assessed the failings of the Bush-Cheney administration when it comes to defending the Constitution and the Republic it serves. "Especially since 9/11, the executive branch has chronically usurped legislative or judicial power, and has repeatedly claimed that the President is the law," it declared. "The constitutional grievances against the White House are chilling, reminiscent of the kingly abuses that provoked the Declaration of Independence."
The American Freedom Agenda, led by Viguerie, former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, American Conservative Union chair David Keene, Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein and Viguerie has bluntly assessed the failings of the Bush-Cheney administration when it comes to defending the Constitution and the Republic it serves. "Especially since 9/11, the executive branch has chronically usurped legislative or judicial power, and has repeatedly claimed that the President is the law," it declared. "The constitutional grievances against the White House are chilling, reminiscent of the kingly abuses that provoked the Declaration of Independence."
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