One of America’s best-known criminal lawyers to headline Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A prominent, at times controversial lawyer and academic has been named the keynote speaker at Steamboat Institute’s 11th annual Freedom Conference this summer.
Alan Dershowitz, whose law career spans more than 50 years, has been a dogged proponent of civil rights and freedom of speech. His nonpartisan backing of Constitutional rights, even in political issues, has elicited criticism and praise from both sides of the aisle.
Dershowitz garnered widespread media attention for his involvement in several high-profile legal cases, including successfully defending O.J. Simpson in the former football player’s 1995 murder trial.
A graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, Dershowitz joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1964 at the age of 25. Three years later, he became the youngest law professor to be granted tenure in Harvard’s history.
He has since retired from teaching and has focused his attention on the political scene.
His recent involvement in headliner issues, such as the Mueller investigation and discussions over Trump’s impeachment, was a major reason Steamboat Institute chose him as this year’s keynote speaker.
“Each year, our goal is to make the speakers and panels as timely as possible,” said Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairman and CEO of Steamboat Institute.
She met Dershowitz in January during the organization’s Campus Freedom Tour series, which promotes free speech at universities across the country. The series has been a reaction to students protesting controversial figures from speaking on campus or colleges banning such speakers altogether.
Schubert-Akin was impressed by Dershowitz, who spoke to students about the importance of allowing open discourse at universities, even on polemic issues. She strongly supports that view.
“Students need to learn how to develop robust arguments,” she said. “That means you sometimes have to be confronted with situations and topics that make you uncomfortable.”
More than taking political sides, Dershowitz values the Constitution and the laws within it. He has used his career to uphold those laws, even if it means defending unpopular people or movements.
Despite his appearances this year on Fox News — where he has defended President Trump from accusations that he obstructed justice in the 2016 election — Dershowitz considers himself a civil libertarian and even voted against Trump.
His most recent book, “The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” echoes his lifetime devotion to the word of law. Rather than argue for or against the President and his policies, Dershowitz claims Democrats have over-reached their legal power in trying to oust the head of state.
“In the fervor to impeach President Trump, his political enemies have ignored the text of the Constitution,” Dershowitz said in a comment to the book’s publisher.
In addition to his keynote address at Lake Catamount, the Freedom Conference will feature a debate on socialism versus capitalism, as well as a film festival with Hollywood producers, actors and screenwriters.
The conference runs from Aug. 22 to 24 in Steamboat. Those interested in attending can register online.
Steamboat Institute is also offering several scholarships to interested guests younger than 30. The scholarship will cover their registration, travel and lodging costs.
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