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The American Prospect
Does the First Amendment Justify Corruption?
A decade ago, if a politician had argued before the Supreme Court that he had a First Amendment right to trade political favors for a Rolex watch, his lawyers may have feared for their professional reputations. But that argument is one basis for ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s appeal of his eleven-count corruption conviction in McDonnell v. United States, which the Court hears in oral arguments on Wednesday...McDonnell’s free-speech argument shows how thoroughly the First Amendment has been reinterpreted in recent years. In the mid-20th century, the amendment often protected dissidents and religious minorities from government persecution. Now, it’s frequently invoked by business interests to accomplish goals such as establishing the right of corporations to spend unlimited amounts in elections, or preventing the government from requiring graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging. Indeed, a 2015 paper by Harvard Law professor John Coates
argued that “corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment.”
A New Look At Thomas Jefferson: ‘Most Blessed Of Patriarchs’
These are interesting times for the founding fathers. We’re amid a wholesale rethink of their legacies as they relate to slavery, especially on American campuses. It’s true, of course, of Jefferson: author of the Declaration of Independence and slave-owner. As Annette Gordon-Reed
and Onuf write, “It is impossible to understand 18th and 19th century America, and the country the United States has become, without grappling with him and his legacy.” They do so in their new book, “Most Blessed of Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.”
Ted Cruz found kindred spirits at Harvard’s Federalist Society
Years before the government shutdown he helped engineer, and way before he became the most unpopular man in the Senate, Ted Cruz stood among friends during a visit to Harvard Law School. ... Charles Fried
, a Harvard law professor and faculty adviser to the Federalist Society who had served as President Reagan’s solicitor general, said the society “made students who didn’t have some standard set of [liberal] beliefs feel less beleaguered.” “If you put down on your CV that you were a member or an officer of the Federalist Society, that’s a signal where your political heart beats,” Fried said.
Encryption Technology Could Help Corporate Fraudsters. We Still Need to Fight for It.
Early this week, James Clapper, the head of U.S. intelligence, complained to journalists that Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing (my word, not Clapper’s) had sped up wider use of encryption by seven years. That’s great. Now let’s speed it up even more. ...Given these potential problems, it’s tempting to be sympathetic with the law enforcement position on encryption—but history is clear that we can’t trust the government in this arena. As Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler wrote recently
, our law enforcement and national security institutions have routinely—and with the impunity so routinely assumed by the rich and powerful—lied, broken laws, and thwarted oversight. “Without commitment by the federal government to be transparent and accountable under institutions that function effectively, users will escape to technology,” he wrote, and as a result we are learning to depend on technology.
IOSCO and PIFS-Harvard Law School launch Global Certificate Program
IOSCO and PIFS-HLS jointly developed a two-phase program aimed at offering IOSCO members an executive education program that is tailored to, and exclusively for, regulators of securities markets. The first phase will cover the fundamentals and intricacies of securities regulation and compliance while the second phase will examine current and future regulatory challenges and emerging issues. This new program is part of IOSCO´s ongoing capacity building efforts and is in response to the needs and growing demands for enhanced education and training of regulators of securities markets globally. ...Prof. Hal S. Scott
, Nomura Professor and Director of the Program on Financial Systems at Harvard Law School, said, “We are excited to work for the first time together with a global standard setter in shaping the securities regulators of tomorrow and increasing and enhancing their regulatory skills in protecting investors and ensuring the integrity of the capital markets and strengthening financial stability.”
At Harvard, ‘Smelly’ Is Anti-Semitic
Was a Harvard Law School student’s remark to a “smelly” visiting Israeli dignitary anti-Semitic—or simply bizarre? ...“I think what he said was clearly offensive, and he has no right to make a statement in public and have his name remain confidential,” Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law at HLS, told The Daily Beast. “But I’m glad he’s not being disciplined because that would make us look like Erdogan,” he added, referring to the former Prime Minister of Turkey, where speech is not protected under law.
Dangerous New Uses for Government Eavesdropping
An op-ed by Noah Feldman:
The U.S. government claims the right to eavesdrop at-will on your e-mail when you're writing to someone who lives abroad. Now it wants to be able to use those e-mails to convict you of a crime. That's what's happening to Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab -- and he’s not the only one. The legal basis is the 2008 Amendment Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which says the government may monitor communications from within the U.S. to foreigners abroad, or vice versa, without first obtaining a warrant to authorize the surveillance.
Free Speech for Bad People
An op-ed by Noah Feldman:
Dr. James Tracy is certainly a crank and also seems to be a terrible person. But Florida Atlantic University violated his academic freedom when it fired him from his tenured professorship in January, and he should win the lawsuit he’s just brought against the school. Academic freedom isn’t absolute, but it certainly extends to a professor’s outside writing on topics of national importance. The stakes of his case are therefore high -- and not just for professors who (ahem) write about politics while still performing their day jobs as teachers and researchers.