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News@Law, 12/16/2015

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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Mic
Top Constitutional Lawyers Explain What the Second Amendment Really Says About Gun Control
In the wake of the shooting in San Bernardino, California, prominent conservative politicians have again squashed momentum to step up gun regulation, using the Second Amendment to make their case for maintaining the status quo....Mic spoke with several top constitutional lawyers who reject outright the notion that the Second Amendment prohibits increased limitations on access to guns. Instead, they argue that the Constitution actually allows for a number of gun regulations which have been proposed in Congress, including universal background checks and bans on assault weapons..."The right to bear arms was thought to ensure well-regulated state militias," Harvard constitutional law professor Richard J. Fallon told Mic. "Regulation of firearms was permissible as long as it did not interfere with state militias."...Other constitutional lawyers go even further, saying that although conservatives may not want to admit it, Heller actually paved the way for more gun control restrictions. "I believe 'assault weapons' are indeed what the court had in mind when it wrote in Heller about 'dangerous and unusual weapons," Harvard Law professor and renowned legal scholar Laurence Tribe told Mic. "I believe military-style assault weapons will never be protected by the court in the name of the Second Amendment."
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Harvard Gazette
Disclosures on fracking lacking, study finds
As the growth of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” transforms more rural landscapes across the heartland into industrial zones, companies are less willing to disclose the chemicals they inject into the ground, Harvard researchers have found...But the amount of information withheld has increased the past three years, according to a study by Kate Konschnik, a lecturer and director of Harvard Environmental Law Policy Initiative, and Archana Dayalu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences...“A lot of oil and gas activity is happening close to cities, communities, and schools,” said Konschnik. “People are seeing this industrial activity right outside their door, they see trucks come up with chemicals, and that concerns them. They want to know what chemicals are being used in their communities. There is so much we don’t know about this activity.”
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The Harvard Crimson
Law School Students Continue Activism on Race
With the semester coming to a close, some Harvard Law School students are continuing their push for changes they say will improve the school’s treatment of minority students, about a month after a high-profile racially charged incident shook campus...On Friday, more than a dozen students hosted a “teach-in” in the lobby of the office of Law School Dean Martha L. Minow, on whom students have called to do more to address their concerns. For roughly an hour, students sat in the office and discussed the possibility of creating a critical race theory program at the school, according to Alexander J. Clayborne, one of the students organizing the protests. Clayborne said they spoke with Minow...In an emailed statement, Minow wrote that she has been meeting with students and faculty members to “ensure inclusive and fair consideration of any ideas for change,” adding that she met with students for several hours last week and again Monday. Law School Dean of Students Marcia L. Sells, too, wrote in a statement that she and Minow have been working closely with students to discuss “what processes can work to achieve change at HLS.”...Law School professor Laurence H. Tribe argued in an email that changing the seal of a school is very different from changing a title. “Renaming the position of ‘House Master’ to something less problematic like ‘Dean of the House’ is a lot easier than changing the school’s seal, which isn’t within the control of any dean or even the university president,” Tribe wrote.
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The College Fix
Harvard law student’s defense of free speech prompts peers to mock his facial features, brand him ‘racist’
A conservative-leaning Harvard Law School student who recently criticized racial protests on his campus and elsewhere for using fascist tactics to silence dissent has become the target of vicious online attacks that do not address his intellectual arguments, but rather his looks. But that has not stopped third-year Harvard Law School student Bill Barlow from speaking out in defense of the First Amendment. Barlow’s recent column in the Harvard Law Record critiqued leftist students for their extreme and totalitarian protest tactics, and Barlow’s subsequent appearance on Fox Business focused on his concerns that free speech is under assault on universities, prompted the barrage of insults. One critic wrote, “this is literally the most punchable face I’ve ever seen. He looks like a political cartoon character of what somebody with those beliefs looks like.”
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Bloomberg
Why Bergdahl Faces a Worse Charge Than Desertion
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009 -- there isn’t much doubt about that. But the charge of desertion isn't the reason he faces life imprisonment in his court-martial, announced Monday by the commanding officer at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the maximum punishment for desertion is five years. The potential life sentence comes from a now-obscure charge with origins in the articles of war enacted by the Continental Congress on Sept. 20, 1776: the charge of misbehavior before the enemy.
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Bloomberg
Taiwan’s Fragile Success Story
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. These days, Americans don’t think a lot about Taiwan. That’s a shame. A thriving democracy in a region with too few of them, Taiwan also faces unique challenges, not least because of its ambiguous legal status and the possibility that it will eventually be absorbed into China -- perhaps by force. Elections next month, which a pro-independence party is expected to win, could mark a turning point. Americans have plenty of reason to pay attention.
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Wisconsin Public Radio
Lawrence Lessig Talks Money In Politics (audio)
He may no longer be running for President, but he still has plenty to say about the American political system. Lawrence Lessig is a Harvard Law professor and author of “Republic Lost, The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It.” He is a former candidate for the 2016 democratic nomination and ran on a platform of eliminating the influence of money in politics.
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USA Today
Death sentences, executions plummeted in 2015
The number of death sentences imposed in U.S. courts have dropped precipitously this year, representing the leading edge of a continuing decline in capital punishment nationwide. Only 49 death sentences have been handed down, a 33% drop from the 73 imposed in 2014. Only 28 prisoners were executed, the fewest since 1991 -- and only six states were involved, the fewest since 1988...A separate report out Wednesday claimed that 19 of the 28 prisoners executed suffered from severe mental disabilities or experienced extreme childhood trauma and abuse. The report from Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice said many of the condemned had multiple mental impairments.
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