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The New York Times
Black Tape at Harvard Law
An op-ed by Randall Kennedy
. In a grand corridor of Harvard Law School, framed professors’ photographs hang on a wall. A week ago, someone put slivers of black tape over the faces of most of the African-American professors. I am one of those whose photograph was marked. Last Thursday, on my way to teach contracts, I received an email from a student who alerted me to the defacement. I saw the taped photos, including my own, right before class. Since then I have been asked repeatedly how I feel about having been targeted by what some deem to be a racial hate crime. Questioners often seem to assume that I should feel deeply alarmed and hurt. I don’t.
The Boston Globe
Harvard Law School alumni, stop donating
An op-ed by Bianca Tylek `16.
Three months ago, as the summer before my last year of law school was winding down, I received a call from the administration asking me to speak on behalf of the student body at a gala commemorating the launch of the Campaign for the Third Century. They encouraged me to accept the engagement, explaining that I would have a powerful platform to tell a compelling story. I agreed. Just a few weeks ago, after months of preparation, I delivered my testimonial in front of 600 Harvard Law School alumni...To the extent that my story motivated our alumni to open their wallets, I now ask that they close them and stop donating.
Harvard Law students call for change to seal
Harvard Law School students are demanding a revision of the school's seal which features the family crest of founder Isaac Royall, who was a slave owner. Student Derecka Purnell
[`17] joins to discuss.
The Harvard Crimson
Harvard Law School Will Reconsider Its Controversial Seal
On the heels of an incident of racially-charged vandalism on campus, Harvard Law School Dean Martha L. Minow
has appointed a committee to reconsider the school’s controversial seal—the crest of the former slaveholding Royall family that endowed Harvard’s first law professorship in the 19th century...Law professor Bruce H. Mann
will serve as the chair of the committee, according to Minow’s email. Mann will be joined by Law professors Tomiko Brown-Nagin
, Annette Gordon-Reed
, Janet E. Halley
, and Samuel Moyn
...Two students and an alumnus will also serve on the committee.
How political correctness rules in America’s student ‘safe spaces’
As the law professor prepared for her class on sexual assault, she opened her emails to find a strange request: could she give assurances that the content of the class would not be included in the end-of-year exam, her students asked?
They were concerned there might be victims of sexual assault among their classmates, they said. Anyone in that position could be traumatised at being confronted with such material in the exam hall. Across the United States, lecturers have received similar messages from students demanding that modules of academic study – ranging from legal topics to well-known works of literature – be scrubbed from exams, and sometimes from the syllabus altogether. Jeannie Suk
, a professor at Harvard Law School, which numbers President Barack Obama among its many notable alumni, cited an example where a student had asked a colleague “not to use the word 'violate’ – as in 'does this conduct violate the law’ – because the term might trigger distress”.
Lessons from Lessig
When Lawrence Lessig
ended his issue-oriented quest for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he vowed to continue his campaign to reform election finance practices and reduce the influence of money in politics. “The fight is not over,” said Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, during a conversation with his colleague Jonathan Zittrain
about the lessons learned while campaigning for election finance reform...“Money has corrupted our political process,” said Lessig. “They [in Congress] focus too much on the tiny slice, 1 percent, who are funding elections. In the current election cycle, 158 families have given half the money to candidates. That’s a banana republic democracy, that’s not an American democracy.”
The Vancouver Sun
Medical tourism needs rules, says legal expert to speak in Vancouver
Medical tourism is not only bringing ethical questions home with returning patients, but also higher costs to fix botched procedures or antibiotic resistant infections, says an international expert in the field. Glenn Cohen
, a Harvard law professor and author of Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism, Law and Ethics, says North Americans need to take a hard look at the consequences of millions of trips taken outside their countries each year for medical or dental treatment...Most medical tourists seek procedures that are legal in both the patient’s home country and the clinic location — dental treatment, joint replacements or cosmetic surgery — and the decision to travel is based on getting quicker, cheaper services. Even so, there are documented cases of residents in the U.K. and Sweden bringing back bacterial infections that are resistant to medication and can be traced to medical treatment in India, Pakistan and the Balkan states, he notes. Even more troubling for Cohen are people who seek treatments that are illegal or unethical at home such as buying a kidney for transplant or going to a fertility clinic that will implant multiple embryos in an older woman.
Obama still pondering death penalty’s role in justice system
Even as President Barack Obama tries to make a hard case for overhauling sentences, rehabilitating prisoners and confronting racial bias in policing, he has been less clear about the death penalty. Obama has hinted that his support for capital punishment is eroding, but he has refused to discuss what he might call for...Charles Ogletree
, a Harvard law professor who taught the president, said: “Though not definitive, the idea that the president’s views are evolving gives me hope that he — like an increasing number of prosecutors, jurors, judges, governors and state legislators — recognizes that the death penalty in America is too broken to fix.”
The Prosecution Cannot Rest on a Trade Secret
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. On the surface, TrueAllele Casework, a computer program that extracts genetic profiles from DNA samples, would seem to mark an advance in criminal justice technology. But defense lawyers say it shouldn’t be allowed in court, because Cybergenetics Corp., the firm that owns the program, won’t reveal the software’s source code, which it considers a trade secret. The resulting conflict, which is presently playing out in a Pennsylvania murder trial, poses fascinating and important questions: Do we need to know exactly how a given technique works to consider it scientifically reliable and admissible in court? And is it democratically right to convict, and possibly execute, someone based on a secret process the defendant isn’t allowed to know?
No Girls Allowed? Boy Scouts Have a Case
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
What are the legal prospects for the California girls who want to join the Boy Scouts of America? Five girls, ages 10 to 13, have asked the local council to be admitted as full-fledged Boy Scouts. Should they eventually take their case to court, they won’t be able to rely on Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions, because Congress wrote in an exemption for the Boy Scouts. Structurally, the exemption resembles the one that Congress gave Major League Baseball from antitrust laws: It doesn't really have a principled basis, but reflects some combination of tradition and lobbying power.
The Boston Globe
Cass Sunstein writing ‘Star Wars’ book
Harvard professor Cass Sunstein
is a prolific writer, but his books tend to be a bit wonkish. With titles like “After the Rights Revolution: Reconceiving the Regulatory State,” “Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict,” and “The Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle,” Sunstein’s collected works aren’t likely to be at our bedside. But that may be changing. According to the trade mag Publishers Weekly, Sunstein, whose wife is Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has inked a deal to write about pop culture. Well, sort of. Called “The World According to Star Wars,” the book will explore the George Lucas film franchise as it relates to the arc of history, rebellions, politics, law, economics, fatherhood, and culture. The new “Star Wars” movie, called “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” opens next month.
Hot Property: Updated mansion has storied past
A gracious Salem house built for a U.S. Supreme Court justice has a storied past and present. Built in 1811 for Joseph Story
, a Supreme Court Justice and “father” of Harvard Law School, the Federal-style brick mansion has gotten a $2 million makeover, including restoration of woodwork carved by famous Salem architect and craftsman Samuel McIntire, as well as the addition of a wing with a new kitchen, media room and garage. Listing broker Kathleen Sullivan of ReMax Advantage in Beverly says co-owner Neil Chayet, a lawyer best known for his syndicated CBS radio feature “Looking at the Law,” is a Harvard Law alumnus who “felt it was his legacy to redo the property.”