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Why Did Humanity Ignore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
An op-ed by Sam Moyn:
The most interesting question to ask about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, is why it was ignored in its own time, even as it is celebrated in our own. The reason, I believe, is that the document reflected not a breakthrough internationalist minimalism but a small part of a familiar nationalist welfarism, in which a concern for civil liberties was not separated from economic and social entitlements.
Stars and Stripes
Report: VA unfairly denied services to 125K post-9/11 veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs is wrongfully denying services to roughly 125,000 post-9/11 veterans with other than honorable discharges, according to a joint study released Wednesday by two veterans advocacy groups and Harvard Law School. Some veterans are missing out on benefits such as healthcare, housing help for the homeless and disability services, in part, because the VA’s own rules are in contravention of the original GI Bill of Rights passed by Congress in 1944, according to the study. That represents roughly 6.5 percent of post-9/11 veterans, including more than 33,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. ... “Veterans who have served since 9/11 are being excluded from the VA at a higher rate than any other generation of veterans,” said Dana Montalto
, the study’s author and a Liman Fellow with the Harvard Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic. “They’re being denied very basic services.”
Christian Science Monitor
Should the FBI tell Apple how it cracked the iPhone? (+video)
Following a very public fight over the unlocking of the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting last December, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has found a way to crack the device without help from Apple. Now, will the federal agency have to tell the tech giant how it was done?..."While it is appropriate for law enforcement, with a warrant, to use a security flaw to gain access to which it is legally entitled, the flaw should be patched as soon as possible for everyone else’s sake,” Jonathan Zittrain
, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard Law School, told the Monitor.
March against big money in politics begins Saturday in Philly
A national coalition aiming to improve democracy by taking big money out of politics and expanding voting rights is kicking off a 10-day march to Washington with a rally outside the Liberty Bell on Saturday. Organizers of what is being called "Democracy Spring" said the nonviolent, family-friendly rally will begin at 10 a.m. with speeches and music. Scheduled speakers include Lawrence Lessig
, a Harvard University law professor who briefly ran for president but dropped out of the Democratic primary race in December after the debate rules changed; actress Gaby Hoffmann, known for her roles in the TV series Girls
; and Kai Newkirk, campaign director of Democracy Spring.
Are the Investigations of Oil Giant Exxon and Coal Producer Peabody Political or Proper?
Call this the tale of two different sets of state attorneys general: one group represents coal producing and consuming states and the other speaks for states that adversely affected by those who burn coal. While it’s all playing out in the nation’s legal arenas, the efforts are surely political. After all, the office of attorney general is known as the “aspiring governors.” ,,, “The absence of EPA legal authority in this case makes the Clean Power Plan, quite literally, a ‘power grab,’” says Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe
, in testimony before Congress last year.
The push to restore health benefits to thousands of veterans
This time, critics are going after the V.A. to denying benefits to a record number of veterans who have served since the 9-11 attacks.At least 125,000 American veterans who served our country since September 11th are being treated by the V.A. as though they never even put on a uniform. The Department of Veterans Affairs has ruled them ineligible for veterans benefits, not because they didn’t sacrifice, but because they left the military without an honorable discharge. ... The staggering numbers come from a new report from veterans advocacy group Swords to Plowshares, the National Veterans’ Legal Services Program and Harvard
, which found that the V.A. is denying valuable benefits at unprecedented levels.
The Baltimore Sun
The Supreme Court vacancy is just the tip of the iceberg
An op-ed by Tommy Tobin `16
. The unfilled vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, while the most talked about right now, is just the latest in a long line of unfilled seats on the federal bench. Just this month, a retirement from D.C.'s U.S. District Court brought the total number of judicial vacancies up to 84, and if Merrick Garland is indeed confirmed to the country's highest court, it will create yet another vacancy on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where he currently serves as chief judge. The open positions are leading to a backlog of cases across the country and an overworked judiciary that has to do more with less.
Environment & Energy News
Former EPA chiefs defend rule in court brief
Two former Republican-appointed U.S. EPA administrators are urging federal judges to uphold an Obama administration climate rule that's come under siege in court. William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly are submitting a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today as "friends of the court" supporting EPA's Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut power plants' greenhouse gas emissions...The two former EPA administrators are represented in the case by Harvard Law School professor Richard Lazarus
. "The Clean Power Plan represents the very kind of pollution control program" that the two former agency bosses "endorsed during their service at EPA," the brief adds. "The Plan is a pragmatic, flexible, and cost-effective pollution control program, which properly respects State sovereignty by affording States substantial authority and latitude to decide whether and how best to administer its provisions."
The Harvard Law Record
Reclaim Harvard Law Removes Critical Posters, Stirring Debate Over Academic Freedom
For the last several weeks, the walls of the protestor-occupied “Belinda Hall” have been covered with messages from Reclaim HLS, a coalition of students seeking institutional change at the Law School. But on Monday, there was a new message—one equating the movement with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, claiming that both Trump and Reclaim are anti-free speech. The signs were posted by third-year student Bill Barlow
, who has been a vocal opponent of perceived censorship by Reclaim HLS. Barlow believes some of the protestors’ demands impinge on academic freedom and stifle dissent—a conviction this incident reaffirmed for him. Shortly after Barlow taped up his signs, he sat down to discuss his message with protestors—a conversation he referred to as “tense but civil.” Later that afternoon, members from Reclaim HLS removed Barlow’s critical posters...Dean [Marcia] Sells
issued a statement to the Record reaffirming Harvard Law’s commitment to free speech. “In recent weeks, faced with questions of pressing importance to our community, we have respected the extraordinary use of space in the WCC lounge as a place for the expression of views through, for example, the display of posters and fliers and the holding of teach-ins and the like,” Dean Sells told the Record...But unlike Dean Sells, AJ Clayborne
, a third-year student and a Reclaim HLS organizer who was one of several students who has removed Barlow’s posters, said that anything posted in Belinda Hall must be approved by Reclaim first.