Bruce Fein was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts—the epicenter of the American Revolution– on March 12, 1947. William Henry Longfellow’s Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Concord Hymn have been two of Mr. Fein’s moral, philosophical, and intellectual inspirations.
Mr. Fein delivered valedictorian addresses at his junior and senior high school graduation ceremonies. He attended Swarthmore College (1965-67), and the University of California at Berkeley (1967-1969), and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in political science. He attended Harvard Law School (1969-1972) where he began a series of annual reviews of the United States Supreme Court for the American Enterprise Institute, where he also served as an adjunct scholar.
After graduating with honors, Mr. Fein clerked for United States District Judge Frank A. Kaufman. Sitting by designation on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Mr. Fein helped Judge Kaufman to author the first decision in more than a century holding the President of the United States subject to suit in National Treasury Workers Union v. Nixon.
Mr. Fein then served as special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. Among other accomplishments, Mr. Fein drafted an authoritative monograph on impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors as the House Judiciary Committee commenced an impeachment investigation of President Richard M. Nixon.
Mr. Fein also served as assistant director for the Office of Policy and Planning, special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, and Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan. In the latter position, Mr. Fein inaugurated a robust process to vet potential federal judicial nominees for interpretive philosophies consistent with the federal judicial role envisioned by the Constitution’s architects.
Mr. Fein was next appointed general counsel to the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Mark Fowler at the time of Judge Harold Greene’s divestiture decree for AT&T. Mr. Fein spearheaded the Commission’s repeal of the schoolmarm-like “Fairness Doctrine,” which gave birth to talk radio.
Mr. Fein was appointed Research Director for the House Republicans on the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran, and served as Visiting Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the Heritage Foundation.
In 1987, Mr. Fein began the private practice of law and commenced more than two decades of weekly law and foreign policy columns for The Washington Times. He assisted then Congressman Bob Barr (R. Ga.) in drafting articles of impeachment against President William Jefferson Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice.
Mr. Fein then served on the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and represented Edward Snowden’s father over the Orwellian surveillance of American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA). He also drafted the complaint for Senator Rand Paul’s class action suit against President Obama, challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s telephony metadata collection program under section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Mr. Fein has testified before congressional committees on scores of occasions at the invitation of both Democrats and Republicans. He regularly delivers lectures to visiting jurists from foreign countries under the auspices of the State Department. His most recent books are Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire Before The Fall. Mr. Fein appears regularly on national and international television and radio and in the print media.
Mr. Fein is eternally grateful that he ceased growing taller at 5 feet, 9 inches. That diminutive height wrote the epitaph to his adolescent ambition to play guard for the Boston Celtics with the likes of Bill Russell and Sam Jones. He is astonished that a man of his intelligence ever could have been guilty of such foolishness.
Mr. Fein dedicated his book American Empire Before The Fall to Socrates, who preferred death to an unexamined life. A pivotal guidepost in his life is the moral superiority of risking being the victim of injustice over risking complicity in injustice.
According to Mr. Fein, the purpose of government is to promote justice, i.e., the convergence of law and moral philosophy.
Mr. Fein does not watch television. He does not watch movies or sports. His leisure hours are devoted to reading Plutarch’s Lives and studying the architecture of power to thwart oppression, persecution, violence, and war. The search for truth without ulterior motives is his summum bonum.
Mr. Fein maintains that due process is the most important concept in the history of civilization—the first recognition by man that “I could be wrong,” an acknowledgement that there are no facts, only interpretations, and an understanding that notice and a hearing are indispensable to human dignity.
At age 67, Mr. Fein is amazed that he survived the monumental stupidities of youth. He is constantly alert to Abraham Lincoln’s adage that a man who does not grow wiser by the day is a fool.