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Alan Dershowitz rules in favor of Sarah Palin as TV judge

Sarah Palin, pictured speaking on behalf of Donald Trump, may become a TV judge. Gerald Herbert/Associated Press/File

There’s been some guffawing about Sarah Palin’s prospective job as a TV judge — the former Republican vice presidential candidate has a production deal to preside over a courtroom a la “Judge Judy” — but Alan Dershowitz, for one, thinks it’s a great idea.

Alan Dershowitz.Andrew Innerarity/REUTERS/file 2015

“There are judges all over the country who make Sarah Palin look like Oliver Wendell Holmes ,” the Harvard Law professor emeritus told us last week. “The point is we have an elevated — and false — impression of how judges behave in the courtroom. So many of them scream and yell and are abusive.”


Dershowitz, whose clients have included O.J. Simpson, heiress Patty Hearst, Claus von Bülow, and boxer Mike Tyson, said he’d probably watch Palin at least once.

“I used to watch ‘The People’s Court’ and Judge [Joseph] Wapner was terrific,” said Dershowitz. “He brought distinction to TV judges. The judges we see on television today more closely resemble the judges in state courts than you might think.”

Celebrated defense attorney Harvey Silverglate also thinks Palin can do the job. And it doesn’t matter that the former Alaska governor didn’t go to law school.

“Though most judges undoubtedly did go to law school, a lot of the time they don’t act like it,” said Silverglate.

The noted civil libertarian, whose clients have included junk bond king Michael Milken, “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley, and British au pair Louise Woodward, recalled arguing a case long ago in Boston Municipal Court.

“I cited the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and Judge Joseph DeGuglielmo said, ‘Constitution shmonstitution, your motion is denied.’ Can you imagine?” Silverglate said. Palin couldn’t be worse, he added, and might be better.

“Have you ever heard of the real-estate concept of ‘highest and best use’?” he asked. “Being a reality TV star in a black robe might be Sarah Palin’s highest and best use.”


But who better to talk about Palin than Maria Lopez, who was not only a Massachusetts District Court judge but also sat in judgment on the syndicated show “Judge Maria Lopez” for two seasons. “I think Sarah Palin would be perfect. Those shows require no brains and she can’t hurt anyone,” Lopez (inset bottom) told us. “Most of the cases are decided ahead of time by the producers so it doesn’t matter what she says. She’s ridiculous, like Donald Trump.”

Lopez said she enjoyed presiding over a TV courtroom, but only for a while. “It got very boring,” she said. “I never watched those shows. I never even watched when I was on. It was stupid. I had better things to do like exercise and read the newspaper.”

Names can be reached at names@globe.com. Follow Mark Shanahan on Twitter @MarkAShanahan.