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News@Law, 12/21/2015

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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The Michigan Daily
Harvard Law dean stresses activism at Winter Commencement
Graduating students were asked to stand up — both literally and metaphorically — Sunday afternoon at the University’s 2015 Winter Commencement. The theme of Sunday’s ceremony for an estimated 900 graduates in attendance at Crisler Center was largely activism, with multiple speakers exploring what it means to confront injustice and make an impact on the world...Commencement speaker Martha Minow, Harvard Law School dean and a University alum, implored students to be “upstanders” instead of bystanders — echoing Schlissel’s call to take action against injustice and to refuse to be crippled by fear. “We fear for our own safety, for our own standing out,” Minow said. “And maybe for this reason, we have amazing abilities not to see suffering.” She began her commencement address by presenting graduates with a question: “What does it take to stand up against what is wrong?” Historically, distinguishing between what’s right and wrong has required strong individuals to take a stance on the controversial issues of the past, Minow said, and today is no exception.
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Medium
Putting the IT In City
An op-ed by Susan Crawford. In Boston, September 1 is known as “Moving Day,” and it can be hell on wheels. On that day each year, more than half of the city’s leases turn over and students return to campus, disgorging thousands of moving vans into the streets at once. It’s an annual nightmare for residents and local officials charged with keeping the city running smoothly. But this year, something remarkable happened that not only took out much of the pain — it also showcased how technology can be successfully harnessed to address deceptively complex government customer service problems. The hero was Boston’s IT department, rising from its traditional roots to do what smart, connected corporations do all the time — employing cutting-edge tech to solve problems.
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Bloomberg
Doctors’ Right to Try to Convert Gun Owners, But Not Gays
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Should the First Amendment protect what doctors can say to their patients in the privacy of the examining room? Weighing state prohibitions on gay conversion therapy, liberals have tended to think the state should be able to regulate medical treatment without worrying about free speech. Now the shoe’s on the other foot: Florida’s ban on physicians asking patients about gun ownership puts liberals in the position of wanting to protect the doctor-patient relationship. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld the Florida “docs vs. Glocks” law this week on the ground that the state’s interest in protecting gun ownership outweighs physicians’ free-speech interests -- a result sure to trouble liberals.
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The Boston Globe
Area colleges defend affirmative action practices
Boston-area universities are closely watching a Supreme Court case that could derail the use of race in admissions, a practice that several universities, including Harvard and MIT, say is fundamental to creating a diverse student body....a strong ruling one way or the other would create a “powerful atmospheric and cultural impact” on private schools, said Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Tribe. “Then the impact on privates would be indirect but massive,” Tribe said, but he explained that a ruling striking down race-based affirmative action is unlikely. Another legal analyst said a ruling against affirmative action would be a “body blow” to the many recent efforts to increase diversity. “The events of the past two or three years have made it clear that we have to be proactive about addressing equal opportunity and addressing racial attitudes,” said Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge and senior lecturer at Harvard Law School.
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Slaw
Preservation of and Access to Historical Case Law: Who Cares?
The news making waves in law libraries lately has been the announcement of Harvard Law School Library’s “Free the Law” initiative (also reported in the The New York Times). By digitizing their comprehensive collections of printed law reports, Harvard will make publicly available free, open and wide-ranging access to American case law for the first time. The Harvard Law School Library is to be lauded for this initiative, another in a series of projects from their Library Innovation Lab, including The Nuremberg Project to digitize their collections of source materials on the Nuremberg Trials; the H2O project to build a platform to create, share and remix open course materials (casebooks); and the Perma.cc service to address the problem of link-rot and help journals, scholars, courts and others create web citation links that will never break.
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Library Journal
Harvard Launches “Free the Law” Digitization Project
It took Harvard Law School (HLS) nearly 200 years, since its founding in 1817, to amass its collection of United States case law reporters—one of the world’s largest collections of legal materials. It will take the HLS Library about three years to scan and digitize that collection and, in partnership with legal technology startup Ravel Law, make it freely available to the public online. If all goes according to plan, by early to mid–2017, the “Free the Law” project will have digitized the “official print versions of all historical U.S. court decisions,” according to the HLS Library blog...According to Adam Ziegler, manager of special projects at the Innovation Lab, the collaboration between Harvard and Ravel came about because HLS had “the vision and the content”—in the form of printed case law—to make the law digitally available, but not the financial and technological means to make this a reality. Ravel is responsible for designing and managing the online output. The raw case law material digitized by HLS and Innodata will be added to the Ravel platform, which allows users to view case connections and use data visualization tools to pinpoint influential cases on a given issue. As Steve Chapman, Manager of Digital Strategy for Collections at Harvard Law School, described it, “anybody who chooses to access Ravel has a means to engage with the law.”
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Bloomberg
One God for Christians, Muslims and Jews? Good Question
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God, as Pope Francis and suspended Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins affirm? Or are Allah and the Christian deity two different things, as the Wheaton administration believes? The debate is a throwback to the days when evangelical Protestants and Catholics were deeply at odds on a range of theological questions. It only seems surprising because Roe v. Wade began a process of political rapprochement between American evangelicals and Catholics that makes them appear closer than they really are. But the debate is also a major issue for Jewish-Christian relations. If Christians and Muslims don’t worship the same God, then neither do Christians and Jews.
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