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News@Law, 02/11/2016

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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Los Angeles Times
Is that milk past its ‘sell by’ date? Drink it anyway.
An op-ed by Emily Broad Leib. My father used to keep food in the refrigerator for days, even weeks after the “best by” date, so long as it looked and smelled OK. My mom, by contrast, went out to buy a new carton of milk as soon as the date passed. Often there would be two containers of milk in our refrigerator: the half-empty one my dad was committed to finishing, and the new one my mom had purchased, out of fear that she might get sick if she drank my dad's past-date milk.
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Time
How the Supreme Court Just Slowed Climate Efforts—And Why Environmental Activists Remain Optimistic
The Supreme Court’s decision to delay implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan has dealt a serious blow to American efforts to fight climate change, leaving an air of uncertainty—both in the U.S. and abroad with international partners—around a plan Obama once heralded as “the biggest, most important step” ever taken to combat global warming. ..“At least five of them think there’s a serious issue with the validity of the Clean Power Plan,” says Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard Law School. “If the Court thought there was nothing to the claims, they wouldn’t have granted the stay.”
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Sports Illustrated
Manfred hopes for Reyes, Chapman, Puig rulings by Opening Day
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says he hopes to deal with domestic violence rulings in three high-profile cases by opening day. In a Q&A with Harvard Law Today, Manfred discussed the league’s new domestic violence policy and how the league is dealing with the cases of Aroldis Chapman (Yankees), Jose Reyes (Rockies) and Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) after their respective off-season incidents.
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WBUR/OnPoint
SCOTUS Stalls Clean Power Plan
OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook: The Supreme Court hits the brakes on the heart of President Obama’s push to fight global warming. We’ll dig in. Guests: Jody Freeman, founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental Law and Policy program.
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Bloomberg View
If Assad wins, Islamic State wins
An op-ed by Noah FeldmanThe civilians fleeing Aleppo don’t prove definitively that, with Russian backing, President Bashar al-Assad will win the Syrian civil war. But it’s certainly time to game out that scenario and ask: What would victory look like to Assad? And what will happen to the other regional actors engaged in this fight? The decisive element to consider is whether Assad needs to defeat Islamic State to be a winner. If the answer is yes -- and if Assad could do it -- the world would probably breathe a sigh of relief, and accept Assad’s victory, despite its extraordinary human costs and egregious violations of human rights.
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WBUR/ Radio Boston
Gov. Baker Stands To Appoint 5 New SJC Justices Before First Term Runs Out
Another departure at the Supreme Judicial Court means Gov. Baker could reshape the state’s highest court. Justice Fernande Duffly is planning to retire this summer. It’s the third retirement announced in the past week — joining Justices Francis Spina and Robert Cordy. Two other justices will reach retirement age before Baker’s term ends, which means that the governor would appoint five justices to the seven-member panel. Guest: Nancy Gertner, Harvard law professor and retired federal judge.
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Bloomberg View
Justices Turn Power-Plant Case Into a Charade
An op-ed by Noah Feldman:  There’s no mistaking the message of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to stay the Barack Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan regulation while it’s being challenged before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Before Tuesday, the court had never granted a regulatory stay in such circumstances, where the lower court hasn’t ruled and has itself declined to block the regulation while it’s considering the case. It’s understandable that environmental advocates are upset. What’s less obvious is why the Supreme Court hasn’t done this sort of thing before, and what’s wrong with them doing it now, if anything. Evaluating the competing values at stake should help us understand whether the court got it right -- and whether we should expect more such stays in the future.
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Fortune
House Bill Will Aim to Prohibit Laws Requiring Encryption Backdoors
U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers will introduce bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that would prohibit states from requiring tech companies to build encryption weaknesses into their products. ... But technology companies, privacy advocates and cryptographers say any mandated vulnerability would expose data to hackers and jeopardize the overall integrity of the Internet. A study from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University released last month, citing some current and former intelligence officials, concluded that fears about encryption are overstated in part because new technologies have given investigators unprecedented means to track suspects.
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The Atlantic
The Supreme Court’s Devastating Decision on Climate
However worrying Tuesday was for the success of xenophobic politics in America, it might have been more worrying for the planet’s climate. In the early evening, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the implementation of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a set of Environmental Protection Agency regulations which would limit greenhouse-gas emissions from the power sector. ...The idea wasn’t for naught. Coal stocks tanked over the last year, and many of the largest American coal companies have filed for bankruptcy. In fact, opponents of the plan cited this exact effect in their brief: The “EPA hopes that, by the time the judiciary adjudicates the legality of the Power Plan, the judicial action will come too late to make much if any practical difference,” said one brief from the Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe. He called the plan a “targeted attack on the coal industry.”
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ArsTechnica
Internet of Things to be used as spy tool by governments: US intel chief
James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, told lawmakers Tuesday that governments across the globe are likely to employ the Internet of Things as a spy tool, which will add to global instability already being caused by infectious disease, hunger, climate change, and artificial intelligence. ...Clapper's remarks on the Internet of Things are remarkable because they come from the nation's top spy chief, and they likely mean that US spy agencies are trying to exploit it. Two weeks ago, a Berkman Center for Internet & Society report from Harvard University concluded that "If the Internet of Things has as much impact as is predicted, the future will be even more laden with sensors that can be commandeered for law enforcement surveillance; and this is a world far apart from one in which opportunities for surveillance have gone dark. It is vital to appreciate these trends and to make thoughtful decisions about how pervasively open to surveillance we think our built environments should be—by home and foreign governments, and by the companies who offer the products that are transforming our personal spaces."
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New York Times
Corporate Inversions Aren’t the Half of It
If you thought there was a problem with inversions — deals that allow American companies to relocate their headquarters to lower their tax bills — wait until you hear about the real secret to avoiding corporate taxes. It’s called earnings stripping, and it is a technique that the Obama administration has so far failed to stop. ...Still, an influential article by Stephen Shay, a Harvard law professor, has argued that the I.R.S. could act by adopting regulations that would term this type of debt equity. Under the tax rules, this would mean that the payments from the American subsidiary would now be nondeductible dividends rather than interest payments, ending this type of earnings stripping. The I.R.S. has said it was considering adopting earnings stripping rules in the near future, and this could be it.
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