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John Roberts reflects on leadership at the Supreme Court
In a rare public appearance on the evening of November 20th, John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, gave a talk at the New York University School of Law. The subject of the chief’s presentation was one of Mr Roberts’s predecessors: Charles Evans Hughes, the white-bearded, aquiline-nosed figure who steered the Supreme Court through the fraught New Deal era in the 1930s. ... Martha Minow
, dean of the Harvard Law School, wrote recently
that Mr Roberts has, “right from the start”, shown “mastery and deft management” in his leadership of the Court. A couple of somewhat intemperate dissents to one side—in the same-sex marriage case last summer, he wrote that “[f]ive lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage, [s]tealing this issue from the people”—Ms Minow’s assessment is just about right.
Inside Climate News
What Chemicals Are Used in Fracking? Industry Discloses Less and Less
Since 2013, energy companies that report their hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the FracFocus website have become less forthcoming, increasingly citing the use of proprietary compounds to limit disclosure, according to a new study from the journal Energy Policy.
The paper, written by two Harvard University researchers, is the most comprehensive analysis of FracFocus to date...Corresponding author Kate Konschnik
, director of Harvard Law School's Environmental Policy Initiative, said she was surprised to find that operators are increasingly unwilling to disclose chemicals. Konschnik said she had expected to find a "growing comfort level" as more states moved toward adopting FracFocus as a regulatory portal.
MIT Technology Review
6 Ways Law Enforcement Can Track Terrorists in an Encrypted World
An op-ed by Nathan Freitas, a fellow at Berkman Center for Internet & Society:
The phrase “the terrorists are going dark” has come back in vogue after the Paris attacks, referring to assertions that encryption is somehow enabling the communication of future attackers to go undetected. But the public is being presented with a false choice: either we allow law enforcement unfettered access to digital communications, or we let the terrorists win. As always, it is not that simple. It is true that much of the world’s communication has shifted away from easy-to-intercept text messages and phone calls, to mobile apps, such as WhatsApp, Apple Messages, and Telegram, which provide free worldwide communications and improved privacy and security. Some apps have even added end-to-end “sealed envelope” encryption, putting message contents out of reach of both law enforcement and the service providers themselves. Even so, there is still a great deal of data available that is not fully encrypted or even encrypted at all—data that allows for the kind of digital detective capabilities that law enforcement seek to catch the bad guys. It is disingenuous on all sides to pretend it does not.
State House News Service
Student loan relief sought by AG Healey
In an effort to help borrowers struggling to repay student debt, Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday announced a new student loan assistance unit and a crackdown on unlawful debt relief companies...Students and advocates who joined Healey in her office for the announcement also praised the new hotline as a means of providing borrowers with information they otherwise may have difficulty obtaining. “Because access to legal advice is so hard to come by, people essentially are unable to enforce their legal rights, so their legal rights disappear,” said attorney Toby Merrill
, the director of Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending.
‘The long war’ is being waged in the passive voice
After the terror in Paris, most Democrats
agree that America should end the Islamic State
. Even the socialist Democrat, Bernie Sanders
, has called on America to lead a coalition to rid the world of this caliphate. ...So far, Congress has been too divided on exactly what it wants this war to be. When Obama presented his AUMF in February, Congress couldn't agree on key questions like the war's duration, scope and ground troops. But this was largely what Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith
has called a "faux debate." Obama never proposed scrapping the 2001 AUMF, which already gave him and his successors broad authorities to wage a war on terror with no temporal or geographic limit. Nor did Obama's AUMF limit his Article II constitutional authority as commander in chief of the military. Goldsmith says the safest course would be to use the 2001 AUMF as a model, but include the Islamic State in addition to al-Qaida.
The plight of the Roma
Taking a leaf out of the American Civil Rights Movement’s book, Roma rights activists undertook a legal battle in European courts to challenge the pervasive discrimination that has kept them living on the fringes of society...Roma right activists filed a complaint in 1999 before the European Court of Human Rights saying that Roma students were 27 times likelier than non-Roma children to be placed in substandard schools...“It shook the system,” said Adriana Zimova, J.D.’11, a human rights attorney from Slovakia and a Roma rights activist...Zimova spoke last week at Harvard Law School
about the challenges of fighting human rights abuses against the Roma.