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News@Law, 05/24/2016

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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Today's News

The Boston Globe
US can save children by upholding international adoption rights
An op-ed by Elizabeth Bartholet and Paulo Barrozo. Republican Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania and Democratic co-sponsors David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jim McDermott of Washington, and Brian Higgins of New York introduced a bill last week that would put the United States in the position of supporting — rather than undermining — the human rights of children worldwide. It is a simple bill, consisting of only a few lines of text and requiring no new resources. But it would have a profound effect on one of the most significant human rights crises of our time. The bill would essentially tell the State Department to stop discriminating against children through its refusal to consider the violations of human rights inherent in their unnecessary institutionalization.
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Slate
Facebook’s Trending Topics Are None of the Senate’s Business
An op-ed by Lecturer Thomas Rubin. When the story broke earlier this month that Facebook might be manipulating its “trending” news section to suppress conservative news, the reaction was quick and predictable. There was an outcry from the right and some users. The site then issued a flurry of posts explaining its editorial position and released its internal guidelines. Finally, a meeting was held between Facebook leaders and 17 leading conservatives to quell the controversy. In short, it was democracy (political fairness) and business (damage control) in action. But action is also taking place on another stage, one that should be much more worrisome to Facebook, its users, the public, and even the right. The day after the story broke, Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota—chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation—sent a pointed letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In it, he demanded answers to a series of questions, including: the identification of individuals responsible for the trending section; how Facebook will hold those individuals accountable; whether any stories with conservative views were targeted for exclusion; and a list of all stories ever removed from or put into the trending section.
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NPR
U.S. Supreme Court Decides 3 Cases Involving Race
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a Georgia man sentenced to death is entitled to a new trial because prosecutors deliberately excluded all African Americans from the jury based on their race. The 7-to-1 ruling was one of three high court decisions issued Monday involving racial discrimination...Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson, an expert on jury selection, says peremptory strikes invite discrimination. Striking a qualified juror by saying "Sorry, you're gone," is "an insult, and yet, it's perfectly tolerated," Nesson said.
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Harvard Gazette
In anti-lynching plays, a coiled power
...The museum performance whet her appetite to continue to stage the plays, and Zier reached out to the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School (HLS), where Managing Director David J. Harris was eager to incorporate art into social justice programming. “It was an easy sell for us,” said Harris. “That these plays were written by women, and the fact that women today are leading so many social movements, especially in communities of color — lots was compelling.”...Held in the Ames Courtroom last month, the performance, “Plays That Don’t Play: The Drama of Lynching” featured the three plays performed by 14 students from the College, HLS, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as one student from Northeastern University. It was an evening (followed by a panel discussion the next day) that Harris described as “unbelievably powerful.”
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Bloomberg
How Clarence Thomas Broke My Heart
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. As law professors go, I’m pretty sympathetic to Clarence Thomas’s constitutional jurisprudence. It’s not that I agree with him, which I almost never do. But I think he genuinely tries to apply originalism using historical methods. And when it comes to the law of race, where again I disagree with Thomas, I respect his effort to give voice to a distinctive form of conservative black nationalism that insists on colorblindness because it’s better for blacks.
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Bloomberg
The Spirit of the Law Counts, When Someone Is Not Quite Fired
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. It's complicated to sue for discriminatory firing when you haven't actually been fired. But it's doable. The lesson from the Supreme Court on Monday is that timing matters. The justices weighed in on the important question of when the clock starts for plaintiffs who have been “constructively discharged” -- that is, effectively fired because of discriminatory treatment. Seven of the eight justices agreed that if someone quit a job and alleges discrimination was the reason, his claim starts when he quit, not when the discriminatory treatment against him is said to have occurred.
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Bloomberg
Poland Is Testing the EU’s Commitment to Democracy
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. At the moment, Europe’s attention is focused on Austria’s presidential election, where a far-rightist was defeated by a razor-thin margin on Monday. But in Poland, where I spent the last several days, the consequences of a far-right government can already be felt. The European Union has given the ruling Law and Justice Party, known as PiS, until Monday to repeal its effort to hamstring Poland’s constitutional court. PiS has answered with a resounding “No.” A full-blown domestic constitutional crisis is brewing, which could have major implications for democracy in Europe.
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