February 19, 2020

This may be the cynicism of youth, or it may be something more dangerous. NYU law professor Melissa Murray talked with Ari Melber about how her students reacted to a "the president is not a king" lesson.

Spoiler: They laughed.

ARI MELBER: For people watching this, if this evidence lines up this way, this looks like it is bad and getting worse. What do you say to them?

MELISSA MURRAY: So I am teaching constitutional law right now at NYU. The other day my students and I talked about a case, Nixon versus Fitzgerald, about the president's immunity from civil suits. One of the things the Court says in immunizing the president from civil suits? He is not a king. He is still subject to other checks. The prospect of his legacy. When I said all these things class, my students laughed. And I don't think I've ever been more disheartened as a lawyer and a teacher to be in front of 112 new lawyers. People who are learning to be lawyers who are so jaded and cynical about the prospect of justice. And the powers of the president being vested in someone who does not use them for the public trust but clearly for his own gains. And it's sad.

MELBER: That is a profound story you just shared as we think about the next generation of lawyers, public servants, some people risk their lives and what are they standing for. What do they believe is possible? That's sobering.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.