The greatest threat to the future of the office of the American Presidency may turn on whether William Jefferson Clinton told a lie, under oath, and then tried—unsuccessfully—to keep secret his sexual relationship with a twenty-two-year-old White House intern. The media’s feeding frenzy and the public’s voyeuristic prurience have been fueled by almost daily disclosures, making The Starr Report itself an instant #1 national bestseller. Yet all of this obscures the very real matters of state that lie at the heart of the Starr investigation.In Sexual McCarthyism, bestselling author Alan M. Dershowitz addresses the key issues at stake—issues that transcend the titillating daily headlines—and what their long-term effects may be. Among the many important questions Dershowitz raises and then answers are these:Why the President’s private life actually is the business of the American people.Why the independent counsel law is a necessary evil, but why the appointment of Kenneth Starr was improper.Why the Supreme Court was right in requiring the President to submit to the Paula Jones lawsuit.Why Kenneth Starr’s leaking of testimony and evidence are at least as serious obstructions of justice as anything alleged against the President.What the lasting constitutional, historical, and political legacies of this case are likely to be.Long after the buzz and sizzle of “Monicagate” have subsided, readers will still be looking to Sexual McCarthyism as a substantive, clear, and definitive analysis of the underlying importance of one of the most serious, yet entirely avoidable, crises in modern American Presidential politics.
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Alan Dershowitz is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Known as a defense lawyer, he is also a litigator, columnist, lecturer, book reviewer, and prolific author. His recent books include Sexual McCarthyism, on the Starr investigation, and Reasonable Doubts, on the O. J. Simpson case. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From the Introduction "At bottom this is a story of how two men who are obsessed with sex -- Clinton about engaging in it and Starr about exposing it -- managed to turn a tawdry series of oval office sexual encounters into a constitutional crisis. Clinton and his advisers made mistake after mistake in a futile effort to keep his embarrassing little secret from becoming public. Starr and his staff overreached, overreacted, exaggerated, and pressed every issue to the limits of its logic. The result was a highly unlikely combination of factors which led the nation to where almost no one wanted to go -- to the brink of a constitutional crisis with international implications.
Some critics believe that Bill Clinton and Kenneth Starr deserve each other. But we the people do not deserve to see our delicate system of checks and balances endangered by the reckless actions of two obsessed men."
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