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Constitutional scholars: Trump’s anti-Muslim immigration proposal is probably illegal
Donald Trump proposed a system of religious discrimination for U.S. immigration policy on Monday, advocating a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” according to a written campaign statement. The incendiary proposal was swiftly denounced by Trump’s rivals in both parties, and as a policy proposal, it is probably illegal. “I believe Trump’s unprecedented proposal would violate our Constitution,” said Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe
, “both the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses and the equality dimension of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” Tribe, a constitutional law expert, said Trump’s proposal also conflicts with the Constitution’s general prohibition on religious tests outside of the immigration context. “It would also conflict with the spirit of the No Religious Test Clause of Article VI,” Tribe told MSNBC Monday evening. Beyond the law, Tribe said it was also notable that using religious discrimination for immigration would be “impossible to administer” and “stupidly play into the hands of extreme Islamic terrorists.”
Politicians Talk Nonsense Because It Works
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein.
Do you think that this is a profound statement? “Intention and attention are mystery’s manifestation.” What about this one? “Hidden meanings transform unseen beauty.” Both statements are, of course, bullshit, understood in a particular sense: not a lie, but a kind of verbal smokescreen, designed to suggest depth and insight but actually vague, vacuous or meaningless. As we’ll see, an understanding of pretentious-sounding gibberish and its frequent power tells us something important about contemporary politics. But we need a little social science first.
Congress is playing with fire over Fed power
An op-ed by Hal Scott.
The United States House of Representatives recently passed the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization (FORM) Act, which would effectively eliminate the Federal Reserve's authority to act as a lender of last resort to much of the financial system. Without a strong lender of last resort in a financial crisis, as we had in 2008, our financial system could collapse, and our economy and country with it, all in a matter of weeks as people panic unable to get their money. The FORM Act, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen wrote in a letter to congressional leaders before the vote, would effectively prohibit the Fed from lending to non-banks in a crisis.
The New York Times
Wall Street’s Debt Restructuring Fight Heads to Washington
Proposed changes to an obscure Depression-era law are causing a ruckus among the Wall Street investment funds that are battling over the debt restructuring at Caesars Entertainment and other companies. Tucked away in the omnibus spending bill in Washington is an amendment to that law, the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, that critics say would hand a victory to Apollo Global Management, which owns the casino company, at the expense of some bondholders...Mark J. Roe
, a professor at Harvard Law School, said he agreed that the Trust Indenture Act could use changes, like adding a provision that says bondholders should be able to vote on whether to accept a debt modification deal. But, he said, the proposed amendment “isn’t a good result for the bond market in general.”
Big Cable’s Sledgehammer Is Coming Down
An op-ed by Susan Crawford.
I want to talk about the sledgehammer of usage-based billing. I take no pride in saying that I’ve been talking about it for years. The sledgehammer is not something I welcome, and I would have been happy if my fears about it never materialized. After all, the sledgehammer could cost internet users billions of dollars, enrich monopolists, and defeat the spirit — if not the law — of net neutrality. In a big way, the sledgehammer will also beat down our economic growth. This is one evil sledgehammer. And it sounds so innocent! Usage-based billing. Kind of like paying for what you use, right? Don’t be fooled.
Harvard’s Symbols of Slavery (video)
Harvard Law student Alexander Clayborne
, a leader of the "Royall Must Fall" protest, calls for symbols of slave-owner/Harvard benefactor Isaac Royall to be expunged from campus.
Dollar General Tries to Shake Up Tribal Law
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
The idea that American Indian tribes are sovereign has a checkered history, in which it’s been both a sword for taking away Indians’ land and a shield for protecting some vestige of self-determination. Tribal sovereignty is before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday in a case that asks whether tribal courts have authority over non-Indians in civil cases. You’d think that, more than 500 years after first contact, the question would be settled. But it isn't, or not exactly -- and therein lies a tale of big money, big principles and thorny legal details.
The New York Times
Yale Finds Error in Legal Stylebook: Harvard Did Not Create It
Among the low points in an American legal education is the law student’s first encounter with The Bluebook, a 582-page style manual formally known as “A Uniform System of Citation.” It is a comically elaborate thicket of random and counterintuitive rules about how to cite judicial decisions, law review articles and the like. It is both grotesque and indispensable. The Harvard Law Review
has long claimed credit for creating The Bluebook. But a new article from two librarians at Yale Law School says its rival’s account is “wildly erroneous.”...Current editors declined to discuss current revenues and how they are shared. Asked for their general reactions to the new article, the top editors of the four law reviews behind The Bluebook responded with a joint statement. “Whatever the ancient history might be, today we’re doing all we can to be the best possible stewards of a resource used by so many throughout the legal world,” the statement said.
Harvard Profs Criticizing The Hunting Ground Might Have Created a ‘Hostile Climate,’ Activist Filmmakers Claim
The team of activists responsible for The Hunting Ground
—a deeply irresponsible propaganda piece recently shortlisted by the Academy—are clearly desperate to quash legitimate criticism of their film; they recently implied that the 19 Harvard University Law professors who have denounced the film’s inaccuracies might be contributing to a “hostile climate” for Harvard Law students...Janet Halley
, Royall Professor of Law at Harvard, called the filmmaker's comments "bizarre," in an email to Reason. "The press release and the website enable the public to gauge for itself the veracity of the film," wrote Halley. "This might have made a more unfriendly environment for the exaggerations, omissions, and falsehoods spread by the Hunting Ground. But here at the Law School we cherish debate and think that evidence matters—sunlight is the best disinfectant."
The Daily Princetonian
Updated: Harvard Law professor, expert on race relations Kennedy ’77 to speak at Baccalaureate
Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy
’77 will be the speaker for the University’s 269th Baccalaureate Ceremony, the 2016 Class Council announced in an email Monday. “I see this email from the President’s office and I had no idea what it would be, and then when I opened it up and saw that it was this invitation to give the Baccalaureate address, I must say it really did bring tears to my eyes. I was deeply, deeply moved and I want very much to say something that is noteworthy for the occasion,” Kennedy said. “It was completely unexpected and I’ve never been more honored.”
Harvard Law School Students Rally, Demanding Changes On Diversity
Harvard Law School students rallied Monday afternoon to demand the school change its official seal, which features parts of Isaac Royall’s family crest — a slave owner who helped found the institution. Students had given Dean Martha Minow until 9 a.m. Monday to meet their demands to change the seal as well as create a permanent memorial to the Royall family’s slaves. Minow has not responded. She is traveling. Dean of Students Marcia Sells
addressed the students at Monday’s rally. “A quick response to those issues, I think, would give them not the value for which they deserve,” Sells said. “But I do want to say that I do indeed hear you. I do think that there are things that we as a community can change and improve, and I’m looking forward to that work.”...“One of the main issues we see is that people whose voices from marginalized communities are most needed in doing that kind of work, they come in the law school, they incur all this debt and they’re pressured into going into the private sector due to the high tuition cost,” said Mickey Belaineh
, a third-year law student from Texas.
Harvard Law community rallies after demands not met
Members of the Harvard Law School community and the group called “Reclaim Harvard Law” hosted a rally Monday after demands they presented to the administration Friday were not met...Shay Johnson
, a third-year law student, went to the dean’s office Monday morning. “She’s apparently out of town. A lot of the recent inertia started with the black tape incident,” she told Boston.com, referring to a lack of response students feel came after black tape was placed over the portraits of black professors in the law school...“Thinking about what happened Friday, it was beautiful to see that there are so many folks at this law school who want to see change,” Jeohn Favors
, a second-year law student said.
, a clinical professor who has worked at Harvard since 2007, came out of her office to join the rally. “I got a text that said ‘There’s a rally,’” she said, “I thought, ‘I have work to do,’ and then it dawned on me, ‘What is more important than now?’”
Inside Higher Ed
Race on Campus: The Latest
On many campuses, debates over race, racism and higher education -- which took off in October and November -- are continuing. Among the latest developments: a plan to change the name of the football stadium at the University of Maryland at College Park, an art object at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that was originally viewed as an antiblack symbol of some kind and new demands for reform at Harvard University's law school...Black students at Harvard's law school have been holding a series of meetings with administrators. One of the students' original demands was to change the law school's seal, which is the family crest of an a major donor with ties to the slave trade. The law school is studying that issue. The students have now presented the law school with a more extensive list of demands...Martha Minow
, dean of the law school, on Monday wrote to all students and faculty members, praising the kinds of discussions that are taking place and vowing more reflection on the issues raised by recent protests. But Minow did not endorse (or reject) any of the proposals. "Some students and staff have presented a list of demands," she wrote. "We are, however, a community of many voices and hopes, and we have an obligation to provide and protect the opportunity for all to participate, speak and be heard. We will work, as we always do, to seek broad input as we determine what kinds of reforms and actions will best promote our academic mission and build the community we aspire to be..."