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News@Law, 02/26/2016

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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Harvard Gazette
Case for reparation gains international force
Forty acres and a mule. The order by Union General William T. Sherman in January 1865, just after the Civil War ended, to offer some recompense to newly freed slaves for the harms they had suffered was a radical, tantalizing promise that never came to be. More than 150 years later, the question of whether nations that benefited from the African slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries bear a responsibility to provide financial reparations for their crimes — as well as the lasting economic, social, and political damage they caused — remains unsettled. Many political and Civil Rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., have tried to gain traction for the idea periodically over the years, without much success...“This is not about retribution and anger, it’s about atonement; it’s about the building of bridges across lines of moral justice,” said Sir Hilary Beckles, a distinguished historian, scholar, and activist from Barbados, during a talk Monday at Harvard Law School...[Kenneth] Mack and [Annette] Gordon-Reed noted the many real-world opportunities in Boston and across the United States that exist right now for HLS students to facilitate getting reparations for black people through the legal system. “All of us derive a present-day benefit from the oppression, the degradation of human beings. And what should we do as an institution to make reparations for that” is what should be on everyone’s mind in thinking broadly about the concept of reparations, said Mack.
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Why A Single Question Decides The Fates Of Central American Migrants
...Like the thousands of Central Americans who increasingly are seeking asylum in the United States, Trejo's future will be determined by how a judge interprets one sentence from a law passed in 1980. It puts him smack in the middle of a debate fraught with politics and argued in a system that has struggled to find an answer to what seems like a simple question: When is a migrant a refugee?...The question of whether Central Americans fleeing violence should be considered refugees under the law has been debated since the 1980 Refugee Act was passed. Deborah Anker, a professor at Harvard Law and one of the pre-eminent scholars on asylum law in the United States, says before that time, U.S. law gave asylum only to migrants from the Middle East or communist countries. "We were really trapped in this Cold War framework, whereas the international definition was global and humanitarian in its basic focus," Anker says.
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Scalia’s Legacy and an Uncertain Future
An op-ed by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz. In 1901, Mr. Dooley—a popular, opinionated comic strip character—explained that “th’ Supreme Coort follows th’ election returns.” Dooley’s view was cynical, political, and slightly unnerving. It was also right, in important respects. Elections matter, especially in polarized times. Nowadays, Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on which election matters, let alone on judicial philosophy or temperament. A Justice selected by Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would, beyond doubt, strive toward a very different future from one selected by Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, or Ted Cruz. But as we explain in our book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution, no Justice—not a single one—is invariably liberal or conservative. Furthermore, a Justice’s influence on the Court can take many forms, not all of them reducible to vote tallies. This was true of Justice Antonin Scalia and it will be true of his successor. Thus, to better understand what issues lurk on the horizon for any new Justice, it is helpful to see where Scalia stuck to familiar left-right scripts and where he tossed those scripts aside.
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The Wall Street Journal
The Perils of Getting Picked for High Court
Just one day after it emerged that President Barack Obama was vetting Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval as a potential Supreme Court nominee, the speculation bubble burst as the Republican politician removed himself from consideration. Why talk of a possible Sandoval nomination flamed out so quickly isn’t totally clear at the moment. But as the White House presses on with its nationwide search for the person to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, anyone who ends up on the shortlist will have a tricky set of factors to consider...And of course, the GOP Senate leadership could always change its mind and retreat from its pledge not to hold hearings. Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe told Law Blog he thinks the Senate’s position is politically untenable and that they’ll agree to have a vote. But even with the uncertainty, he thinks whoever the president puts forward will still “be honored to accept the nomination.” Mr. Tribe said he expects that person would have the “backbone to take the risk of being out there in front of a recalcitrant Senate.”
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Apple’s case against the FBI won’t be easy
To force Apple to help the FBI unlock a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, a federal magistrate-judge invoked the All Writs Act, which allows courts to make a company turn over a customer's data to law enforcement...Proving that code is protected speech isn't the biggest obstacle Apple faces. Core to Apple's argument against writing a new version of its operating system is that, by complying, it will make its customers less secure. But Apple would have to overcome years of precedent in the way that companies work with law enforcement. "I'm sympathetic, but I can't think of any authority that says that you can evade your obligations to comply with the police because you don't trust they'll keep the information secure enough," said Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law professor and constitutional law scholar. Lessig noted that the security issue makes Apple's case unique. "If a bank has vault and the police have a search warrant, then there's no doubt that the bank has to open the vault," Lessig said. "But when bank opens vault, there's no concern that it's making every other vault unsafe."
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