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The Washington Post
Despite what many reformers believe, special prosecutors will only weaken police accountability
An op-ed by Colin Taylor Ross `16.
Last month, citizens seeking police accountability in two U.S. cities won remarkable victories at the ballot box. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, prosecutor Timothy McGinty was ousted by Democratic primary voters outraged by the failure to bring charges against the officer who shot and killed 12-year-old African American boy Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park. In Cook County, Ill., State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez lost her bid for the Democratic nomination for a third term over her handling of the police shooting death of teenager Laquan McDonald. As the United States faces a crisis of faith in the criminal justice system’s ability to hold police officers accountable under the law, attention has turned to the role of prosecutors. These two electoral expulsions have been hailed as milestones in the struggle to inject accountability into the United States’ local law-enforcement infrastructure. It is unfortunate, then, that some activists seem intent on making those hard-fought victories irrelevant.
‘Most Blessed Of The Patriarchs’ Digs Into Thomas Jefferson’s Hypocrisy
Thomas Jefferson is one of America's founders and, even after centuries, a mystery. Annette Gordon-Reed
talks about the book she co-wrote with Onuf, Most Blessed of the Patriarchs
The Boston Globe
A portrait of Thomas Jefferson: brilliant but self-absorbed, troubled
Thomas Jefferson repeatedly insisted that the private lives of America’s founders should be off limits to historians. In 1817, when a writer asked him about his family, the author of the Declaration of Independence coughed up little information, noting that personal matters “would produce fatigue and disgust to . . . readers.” For generations, scholars agreed and most studies of our third president and his contemporaries focused largely on their political careers. But that taboo started to crumble about a half century ago. And thanks to the pioneering work of Harvard Law School professor Annette Gordon-Reed
, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Hemingses of Monticello’’ (2008), we can now readily understand why Jefferson lived in such mortal fear of biographers...In “ ‘Most Blessed of the Patriarchs’: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination,’’ Gordon-Reed and her coauthor, S. Onuf, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Virginia, seek to reassess Jefferson’s legacy, given all the recent discoveries about his long-buried private life.
Here’s How to Fix All That Federal Regulation
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein.
Many conservatives contend that federal regulators have been running wild, especially under President Barack Obama. Objecting to “job-killing regulations,” they offer concrete proposals for reform: more cost-benefit analysis, elimination of unjustified mandates, and explicit congressional approval of expensive rules...By contrast, progressives have been pretty quiet. That changed recently, when Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered an important but widely overlooked speech last month, one offering an unmistakably progressive vision of regulatory reform. Warren sees the problem as one of capture by regulated interests, not overreach by regulation-happy bureaucrats.
The New York Times
Obama Presses for Open Market for Cable Set-Top Boxes
President Obama on Friday announced his support for opening the market for cable set-top boxes, singling out the devices in millions of homes as a clunky and outdated symbol of corporate power over consumers, as he introduced a broad federal effort to increase competition...“An industry that had previously been considered untouchable — the cable guys — is now subject to criticism from the president,” said Susan Crawford
, a Harvard Law School professor who is a former aide to Mr. Obama. “This is like weighing in against Big Tobacco or Big Pharma.”
The Star, Kenya
Kenya risks isolation if it ditches ICC, say lawyers
Kenya risks being isolated among other nations if it fails to co-operate with the ICC, lawyers have warned in criticism of President Uhuru Kenyatta. International law experts yesterday told the Star Kenya remains a State Party to the Rome Statute and failure to co-operate with the International Criminal Court would be a violation of Kenya’s own constitution...Alex Whiting
, a professor of international law at Harvard University in the United States, said Uhuru is now openly saying he will not abide by the law. “Kenya signed and ratified the Rome Statute, and therefore it has a legal obligation to co-operate with the court,” Whiting told the Star. He said the international community will also have to take a position on Kenya.
More than 900 of ‘Democracy Spring’ protesters arrested in D.C.
Police arrested hundreds of people protesting the influence of money in politics this week in Washington, D.C., but peaceful tangles with the officers were one of the group's main goals. U.S. Capitol Police arrested more than 900 protesters through Saturday afternoon. The mass demonstrations called "Democracy Spring" began Monday...Harvard Law School professor and former Democratic presidential candidate Larry Lessig
was arrested Friday — for the first time ever. "I'm a law professor," he said Saturday. "I don't get arrested." But he made an exception for the issue that he based his short-lived campaign on: Campaign finance reform. "I’m so incredibly excited with the kind of passion and the mix of people that were there," said Lessig, noting it's spread beyond the usual "law geeks and intellectuals" who rally around campaign finance reform.
The Boston Globe
Criminal justice reform, by filibuster
It’s not just Supreme Court vacancies that are going unfilled; vacancies have become an acute problem throughout the federal judiciary. A recent study by a professor at Harvard Law School finds that these vacancies are causing prosecutors to drop more cases and offer lighter plea deals than they would otherwise, which has “led to approximately 1,000 fewer federal prisoners per fiscal year . . . largely from drug offenses.” While this may be letting some criminals off easy, the professor suggests that “judicial vacancies may have had an unintended benefit of reducing the prison population toward the optimal level of incarceration...[Crystal] Yang
...“Resource Constraints and the Criminal Justice System: Evidence from Judicial Vacancies,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (forthcoming).
Grieving Russian mother challenges law that saw daughter’s organs taken
Yelena Sablina was stunned when she came across the forensic record of her late 19-year-old daughter, who died days after a speeding car hit her at a Moscow pedestrian crossing. Going through the file she discovered that her daughter Alina's heart, kidneys and a number of other organs had been removed -- without her family's knowledge or consent. Since making the grim discovery in February 2014, one month after Alina's death, Sablina has made it her mission to challenge a Russian law that allows doctors to remove the organs of dead people without needing permission...Harvard law professor Glenn Cohen
said that concerns over such laws usually focus on “the cost and infrastructure as well as pragmatic political considerations”.
Who Owns the Robots Rules the World
An op-ed by Richard Freeman
, faculty co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program. "Robots And Computers Could Take Half Our Jobs Within the Next 20 Years”…“Robots Could Put Humans Out of Work by 2045”…“White House Predicts Robots May Take Over Many Jobs That Pay $20 Per Hour”…“Robot Serves Up 360 Hamburgers Per Hour”…“Why the Highest-Paid Doctors Are the Most Vulnerable to Automation”…“Robot Receptionist in Tokyo Department Store.” These headlines have the flavor of yellow journalism. But they are based on the predictions of researchers across many disciplines and on technological advances developed by firms large and small...xBut whether robotization will be good or bad for society isn’t a foregone conclusion—it will depend crucially on how public policy and private firms respond.
New York AG sues insurer over restrictive hep C coverage
The New York State Attorney General has already taken some steps to find out why insurers are limiting coverage of pricey hep C meds to the sickest patients but has stopped short of suing companies for their decisions. Now, he’s stepping up his fight..."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,'" Kevin Costello
, litigation director at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, said in a February release.