Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School
March 12, 1947 (age 68) (
Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy
Bruce Fein on the significance of Michael Cohen's guilty pleas
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.
- Bruce Fein on the significance of Michael Cohens guilty pleas
- Early life
- Personal life
- Relations with the US Government
- Reagan Administration
- Criticizing Bush Clinton and Obama
- Repeal of the Fairness Doctrine
- Clinton Impeachment
- Lon Snowden
- NSA lawsuit
- Hillary Clinton
- Sri Lankan Civil War
- Armenian Genocide
- Court cases
Fein is a principal in a government affairs and public relations firm, The Lichfield Group, in Washington, D.C.. He is also a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America.
He denies the Armenian Genocide happened.
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.
Relations with the US Government
Fein was a top Justice Department official under the Ronald Reagan administration. He has heavily criticized every subsequent U.S. president.
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.
Criticizing Bush, Clinton and Obama
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.
In 2011, Fein proposed impeaching President Barack Obama in connection with the 2011 military intervention in Libya.
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."
Repeal of the "Fairness Doctrine"
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.
During the 2016 election Fein had been critical of Hillary Clinton on foreign policy, and argues on The Huffington Post that she is too eager for war.
Sri Lankan Civil War
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.
Fein is a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), works with the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, and actively denies the Armenian Genocide.
Fein has penned several articles on the topic, including in The Washington Times and The Huffington Post. Fein denies racial, ethnic or religious motivation for the Armenian Genocide.
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."