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Harvard Law School committee recommends retiring controversial seal
A committee of Harvard Law School
faculty, students, alumni, and staff recommended Friday in a report that the school abandon the shield that has long represented the school, after students decried its links to a slave-holding family. The decision comes after months of discussion and the formation of the special committee tasked with examining whether the shield’s reference to the Isaac Royall family, which owned and brutally abused slaves, was insensitive to the school community. “We believe that if the Law School is to have an official symbol, it must more closely represent the values of the Law School, which the current shield does not,” the committee said in its report to the Harvard Corporation.
Remembering Scalia: Justice Receives High Praise from Two Very Liberal Lawyers
The sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016 inflicted a great loss upon the Supreme Court of the United States, the federal judiciary, and on the American legal profession. ... Historians likely will conclude that Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court was not just President Reagan’s best judicial appointment, but one of the best judicial appointments of the twentieth century. As Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow
stated upon his death: “Justice Scalia will be remembered as one of the most influential jurists in American history – he changed how the Court approaches statutory interpretation, and in countless areas introduced new ways of thinking about the Constitution and the role of the Court. … He was also one of the most effective writers in the history of the Court, and he had an exceptional gift for the memorable phrase. He had a terrific sense of humor, which was accompanied by great personal warmth.”
You Didn’t Notice It, But Google Fiber Just Began the Golden Age of High Speed Internet Access
Susan Crawford in Backchannel:
This week, Google launched what amounts to a religious war in American telecom land. In a surprising announcement, the Alphabet company known as Google Fiber said it would expand its high speed Internet access services to Huntsville, Alabama — but in a different way that it currently has started up operations in cities like Austin and Kansas City.
The Bernie Sanders paradox – money doesn’t buy elections: Matthew Weybrecht
An op-ed by Matthew Weybrecht 16:
In an ancient Greek puzzle known as Zeno's Paradox, a tortoise challenges Achilles to a race, if only Achilles will give him a 10-meter head start. Achilles accepts the challenge, believing he can easily make up that distance. But the tortoise proceeds to explain why Achilles can never win. ... In 2016, Bernie Sanders has created his own version of this paradox. He has convincingly argued that he cannot win the race for the White House. Here's how: Sanders rails against what he sees as the corrupting influence of money in politics, focusing particularly on the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. There, the Court ruled that the First Amendment protects independent expenditures promoting a political position or candidate, even if that money comes from a union or a corporation.
Alabama Judge Rules State’s Death Penalty Scheme Unconstitutional
An Alabama circuit judge has ruled the state's death penalty scheme unconstitutional. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tracie Todd barred the death penalty for capital murder defendants Benjamin Acton, Terrell McMullin, Stanley Chatman and Kenneth Billups on Thursday, AL.com reports. It wasn't immediately clear what sentences the men will now receive. ...A 2015 study from the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice
at Harvard Law School found that 26 out of 34 Alabama death sentences in the past five years were non-unanimous decisions.
Why I’m Sleeping in Belinda Hall
It’s OK to Laugh at the Supreme Court
An op-ed by Noah Feldman:
Reading Justice Elena Kagan’s breezy, colloquial, witty dissent inLockhart v. U.S., the grammar case handed down Tuesday, wasn’t like reading an ordinary Supreme Court opinion -- because it was breezy, colloquial and witty. Spurred by the competition, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the majority (which is much harder), tried out a few colloquialisms herself. Something new is afoot at the court, and Kagan is at the forefront of it. In the era of fan-girl books about the court, like “The Notorious RBG,” humor is becoming a permissible mode of judicial expression.
Law School Committee Recommends Seal Change
A committee tasked with re-considering Harvard Law School
’s seal in light of its ties to slavery recommended Friday that the Harvard Corporation revoke the emblem’s status as the school’s official symbol. The seal bears the crest of the former slave-owning Royall family, whose donation helped establish Harvard’s first law professorship in the late 18th century. The committee sent a report to the Corporation—the University’s highest governing body— summarizing the history of the seal and arguments for and against its removal. Their recommendation was not unanimous; two of the 12 members of the committee argued in a dissenting opinion sent along with the report that the seal should be preserved as an “honest” and conspicuous reminder of the Law School’s connection to “those enslaved at the Royall Plantation.”
Boston Business Journal
Preeminent Harvard cybersecurity expert takes Apple’s side in FBI fight
, a preeminent cybersecurity expert and the chief technology officer at a Cambridge-based tech firm that was just acquired by IBM, has come out in support of Apple Inc. in its crusade against the FBI. Schneier signed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court in support of Apple Inc.'s motion to vacate an order compelling the firm to assist FBI agents in searching an Apple iPhone seized from the car belonging to the perpetrators of the San Bernardino shootings.
The New York Times
A Way to a Deal on a Supreme Court Nomination
Senate Republican leaders have insisted they won’t consider an Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, leaving that choice to the next president. But they may want to reconsider after this week — especially if they care about protecting the pro-business rulings that are among the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s most important legacies. ... “If Hillary is elected, and certainly if there’s a Democratic Senate, the Republicans would be much better off with a moderate nominee now,” said Laurence H. Tribe
, professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School. “That’s a rational way of looking at it. I’d hope they’d see reason but I wouldn’t bet the family farm on it.”.
New York AG launches probe into insurers’ coverage of hep C drugs–or lack thereof
Insurers are grappling with the high cost of hep C meds from companies such as Gilead Sciences ($GILD) and AbbVie ($ABBV), often limiting access to the drugs to the sickest patients. Now, the New York state attorney general is investigating the matter, calling on 16 health insurance companies to answer questions about their hep C coverage. ... "When an insurer limits coverage only to its sickest members, it amounts to an irrational and short-sighted rationing of care. From the perspective of an individual living with HCV who is excluded from the cure, that care is the very definition of 'medically necessary,'" said Kevin Costello
, litigation director at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School.