Follow HLS on
There are hepatitis C drugs, but patients often can’t get them
Patients infected with hepatitis C are finding that having private health insurance doesn’t always mean they can get the drugs likely to cure them. ...The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law Schoo
l analyzed plans sold on the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state agency for people who buy insurance on their own, most of whom have moderate to low incomes. The center found that in nearly half the plans, patients had to pay a higher percentage of the cost for hepatitis C drugs than for most other drugs. Some insurers require patients to pay half the cost.
How Facebook Could Tilt the 2016 Election
...With the election two days away, younger and urban Americans are terrified. Some are arranging ways for their Muslim friends to leave the country. That’s the atmosphere in which two senior Facebook engineers approach Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, and tell him that this whole mess can be stopped right now.... Jonathan Zittrain,
a law and computer science professor at Harvard Universitywho has previously written about Facebook’s electoral power, told me it was good that Facebook was now on the record about not tampering with the vote. He confirmed that no legal mechanism would prevent them from trying it. “Facebook is not an originator of content so much, it is a funnel for it. And because it is a social network, it’s got quite natural market dominance,” he said. With that power came a need for public concern and awareness.
Are human rights really universal?
An interview with Sam Moyn:
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed a set of rights for all humankind, belonging to each of us simply by virtue of being human. Universalism - that they belong to everyone, everywhere - is the key idea that grounds human rights, it gives them meaning, application and authority. Talking to legal philosophers, historians, sceptics and advocates, Helena Kennedy QC explores the philosophical and historical foundations of human rights. Are they really universal or is this just moral posturing on a grand scale, a legal fiction, a philosophical sleight of hand?
Harvard Law School Group Pushes Virtual Power Plants in Massachusetts
A Harvard Law School group is urging Massachusetts regulators to test virtual power plants – possibly as part of microgrids – as the state moves to modernize its electric grid. The school’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
raised the idea of utilities demonstrating virtual power plants in comments filed last week before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The DPU is reviewing grid modernization plans proposed last year by its investor-owned utilities. ... The virtual power plant would pay a fee to the utility for use of the lines. But the Emmett clinic suggested the rate be discounted because the virtual power plant would use only distribution wires, not the full distribution system. “Such demonstration projects could include microgrids that use wires owned and operated by distribution companies and technology that is similar, if not the same as that used in VPPs,” said the Emmett clinic.
Who Cares If They’re Legal?
An op-ed by Noah Feldman:
The much-awaited immigration case challenging President Barack Obama's right to waive deportation for unauthorized immigrants was argued before the Supreme Court today. It looks as though the administration may possibly have a path to win -- even if only on technicalities. The argument was dramatic. Justice Sonia Sotomayor took on the Texas solicitor general in an extended colloquy that made her seem almost like an advocate for immigrants rather than a justice. And U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said the administration was prepared to forget about granting official legal status to undocumented immigrants as long as they were protected from deportation -- a step that could nullify most objections to Obama's executive order.
The Millennial Vacation: Blindfolded and Taken to a Tiny House
A year ago two former Harvard classmates built three 160-square-foot houses, hauled them to rural locations outside Boston, and made them available for nightly stays with an odd proviso: Guests would plunk down $99 to book a night in a tiny house, but they wouldn’t find exactly where the house was until the day before. It's not a literal blindfold, but the intent was close enough—forcing guests to unplug from their busy, overplanned lives and engender a stripped-down adventure. It worked: Getaway, as the company is called, is currently booked through July at its three Boston-area houses...The company recently completed a fundraising round—it has raised $1.1 million total—and is using the capital to build 10 new tiny houses in the New York City area, where it plans to start operating in June. “I like to call it the anti-vacation,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Staff, who launched Getaway with his friend Pete Davis
, a first-year student at Harvard Law School...Asked for a little more detail on the locations of the company’s new New York-centric locations, Davis, 26, responded by cryptic e-mail: “Nobody's leaving the Empire State, all houses are relatively choo-choo accessible, and a quaint town will not be far from reach (though, of course, the point is not to be anywhere, but rather just be ...!).”
The Fight for Cage-Free Eggs
What should the regulations for animal confinement be? Voters in Massachusetts are poised to decide in a November ballot question whether the state should ban the sale of whole eggs, pork products, or veal from animals that can’t turn around or stretch their limbs within their cages. The prohibition would apply to producers both in and outside the commonwealth, with one of the biggest changes being that eggs sold in the state be “cage-free” when the law goes into effect in 2022, if voters agree to the proposal...“I think especially when you’re dealing with major producers I can’t really see folks taking the risk. The industry is definitely moving on in terms of all the major corporate announcements,” said Chris Green
, the executive director of the animal law and policy program at Harvard Law School. But if the Massachusetts ballot initiative is taken up, it’ll be the voters who decide.
Law School Activists Demand End to Tuition
In the most recent wave of activism at the Law School, some students are calling on the school to eliminate tuition completely as part of their new campaign for financial justice. Members of the group Reclaim Harvard Law published an open letter Sunday addressed to Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and members of the Harvard Corporation—the University’s highest governing body—demanding an end to tuition. ...“[The seal change] is a great symbolic gesture, but we wanted to make sure that there are concrete economic steps that are taken so that students of color and students from low income backgrounds are less marginalized,” Reclaim Harvard Law member Sarah B. Cohen
said. “This is aligned with our racial justice goals and a natural continuation of our activism.”
Applejaxx ‘Started From the Bottom’ of Harvard Law School
Christian rapper Applejaxx [Ernest Owens
] spoke to Rapzilla at SXSW and explained what his “day job” was and how it influences his music. During the day, Applejaxx works at Harvard Law School. As he was looking for his job, his wife was pressing him to find something. One of his wife’s colleague knew someone who worked in the college in the HR department. There was a job opening in the basement at the copy center, “So it was literally starting from the bottom and now I’m here.” Now he does research with a lawyer on race injustice. He took the worst job and now has the best job.
Lessig Arrested at Campaign Finance Protest in Washington
Police arrested Harvard Law professor and former presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig
last week during protests focused on campaign finance reform in Washington, D.C. Organized by the nonpartisan group Democracy Spring, a movement dedicated to campaign finance reform and supporting disadvantaged voters, the week-long sit-in protest in the nation’s capital came in the midst of this election cycle's primary season. ...“We have not embraced the fundamental fact that we need to change the way campaigns are funded,” Lessig said in an interview with the Young Turks posted over the weekend. “We need to spend public money on campaigns because whoever funds campaigns gets to call the tune.”
Is God a Spaghetti Monster? That’s a Serious Legal Question
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
What’s a religion? The question is fundamental to the legal analysis of religious freedom, yet courts avoid addressing it. The Supreme Court has never given a concrete answer. The result: Courts don’t claim to be able to define religion, but think they know it when they see it. The consequences can be surprising. Ten days ago I wrote about a case in which an appeals court expressed skepticism about whether a religion based on the use of traditional Native American hallucinatory substances was really a religion. And just last week a federal district court rejected a prisoner’s religious-liberty claim on the ground that his faith, Pastafarianism, is a parody of religion rather than religion itself.